A History of Love.

At any given time, I keep 10-20 blog drafts in my list of posts. They will either go somewhere good or they’ll eventually be deleted. Most of the time they are published, but they morph several times over several months. They take longer to be finished. I guess it’s just proof to me that I’m always subconsciously thinking about posts even when I don’t know it. They creep up at the strangest times. This post was originally called “On Men.” It has changed six times over several months.

I’ve been thinking about love. I’ve been out of the dating game for so long that sometimes I forget my over-thinking, over-analyzing theories about love. It’s just as complex as friendship. It’s probably more. I’ve just been in a friendship state of mind instead lately. You can take the girl out of the angst but can you take the angst out of the girl? Not always.

It started out of a random thought about an ex-boyfriend. That was followed by a night out with the girls and then watching “Gossip Girl” (Lame? Nah) and getting all weird about it. All of those things made me sit down and add another paragraph to this collection of semi-broken thoughts. What’s weird is that these thoughts don’t and have never felt finished to me like other blog posts do. This may never have a point, or a conclusion. Yet I still wrote this and posted this despite that, which I never do with other posts. Ever. Maybe that is the point. The conclusion.

Once in awhile watching “bad” TV makes me remember my history of love. There’s so much angst and frustration and mystery in TV romance. It may be ridiculous but it’s there for a reason – people dig it. I remember watching these TV shows with such wonder throughout my youth – I wondered if I’d ever feel the way people on TV do. I know now that the reality of love feels tremendously different – not better or worse, just different. These shows with their loudly microphoned kissing scenes and slow music backgrounds make me cringe more easily now than years ago. Most of it doesn’t reach any point of connection for me. But I can’t forget that I once wholeheartedly related to it. And that every now and then, like a phantom limb, I still feel a phantom angst when I’m watching a particularly juicy love scene on TV. I mean…it wasn’t that long ago for me.

So, I’m 30 now. And while that’s still considered a young adult and I certainly physically feel like a spring chicken…it’s still 30. It’s not 20. I do have some life experience under my belt now although I don’t believe that life experience necessarily comes with age – I think it’s more about maturity and ambition. And I have some of that too.

On the other hand, I’m 30 and not 80. I was in my mid 20’s/quarter life crisis/prime dating life only a few years ago. I was confused and overwhelmed and choosy and careless only a few years ago. I questioned and over-analyzed pretty much any cute, and some not even that cute, guys I came across to decide if they could be THE ONE. And even now, I don’t necessarily believe in THE ONE. I believe there can be one or two or three or 300 people out there for you. And then how do you narrow it down to one? And how do you stay in love with one? How do you survive grief and money struggles and children with one? How can you find both passion AND solid trust with one? Is it even possible? Could someone be right for you in several ways? If they are lacking in one way, is it a deal breaker way? Can it be overlooked? These are the swirling thoughts that used to keep me up at night. And this was NOT THAT LONG AGO.

In my previous life before Cassidy, I was in four serious relationships and several (number unknown) flings or “things”, some as serious as the long term relationships and some…just completely ridiculous. With one exception – a guy I have remained friends with, I haven’t seen even a glimpse of any of these exes in over four years. And that’s just one of them. With the rest it’s been at least six years. And of course, I think about some of them. I wonder about them. With everyone, there is a history and there was/is a possibility. There was a story and as I’ve learned with Cassidy, sometimes stories that you think are over aren’t really over. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. Or maybe that’s just me.

I used to be more careless with hearts. It’s not that love was a game in which I only enjoyed the thrill of the chase. I wanted (mostly) what I could have. However sometimes I did just want to know if I could get someone and sometimes I changed my mind after being with them for awhile. My eyes would move forward, or even backwards, and I was off and running a lot.

I haven’t figured out everything yet but I know enough that I cringe when I think about my past behavior. Who was that girl and what exactly was she looking for? What I do know is that I used to be desperate not to feel anything at all. I was often numb and when I wasn’t numb, I could hurt enough to scream. I wanted to make people nothing in my mind so that I’d never feel hurt. And it never, ever worked. Love is pretty much lifelong for me; I just think it morphs into something friendlier or more faded after a split. I do believe we can move on. I believe it can be simple. Maybe they’re a real jerk. Maybe you’re a real jerk. Maybe you grow and change in exact opposite directions and simply get over each other. And maybe sometimes it’s not so black and white simple. Maybe neither of you are jerks and only one of you has grown in a different direction, or maybe pick from any number of normal and complex reasons to break up. There is no clean break. I suppose you either choose to keep a mutual respect and safe distance from each other, or the passion fades enough that you can be friends.

Some people say that time is not linear and constant. That it’s not going in a straight line and is instead all happening at once, always. And if that’s true, or wherever that is true, that means that everyone is always in love with everyone they’ve ever been in love with. Forever and always.

I don’t talk about it a lot. I still think about some of them. Maybe I always will.

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  1. Past relationships are part of who we are and they never really go away too far from even the furthest corners of our psyches.I can still feel an almost physical sphere of energy that defines my relationship with your father. It may take us a while to bury or come to terms with our past lovers but the shared facets of our lives are eternal.

  2. Please tell me we share some sort of cosmic sisterhood. I mostly read this at work, so it is totally inappropriate for me to sob.When I was in my mid 20s I married my college sweetheart – a year later he left. We'd been together 7 years and there were no explanations, he did not "blame" me but didn't give me any hints of what went wrong either. He was just gone. None of my friends had any understanding of what I was going through; my mom and dad had been together for 25+ years and had NEVER had any other significant relationships. Other college friends were married or in the process, and all still in love. Hell, I was still in love and just cut to shreds. I felt so alone with no one to talk to who would/could understand. I intentionally played music in my car that would make me sob hysterically – while I was driving – just to get it out.It took me a year to even look at anyone else. And when I did, I chose very unwisely for a time, though in their way each of those relationships taught me valuable lessons. I was trying to discover who I was…in my mid 20s rather than my late teens. I was exploring the not perfect daughter, the girl who didn't do all of the "right" things. Because all of the "right" things hadn't worked for me.

  3. I met some interesting men who weren't meant to be my life partner or "the one". One (met through work) I swear I had a soul connection to – we just knew each other's thoughts without words – at times it was painfully joyous being with him, but he was 16 years older than me and it was a problem for him. He was a very smart and very caring man, but he was also an alcoholic, so in my heart I knew that despite our connection he was not to be my "one". While we were still trying to figure out what "we" were he met someone who he eventually married…and invited me to his wedding. That was something I just couldn't do. But I did survive many parties (his and mine) with he and his wife attending.I had some fun exploring those days, flirting and testing the waters, making connections then spinning away – like a gigantic dance of heart and soul touches. (My mom has in the heat of an argument referred to that as my slutty days. She has no idea what I went through; her idea of slutty is the fact that I was dating and meeting multiple men.) I envy that your mom gets the relationship stuff more than mine ever has.At heart, though, I really was the girl that wanted to do all of the typical things and have a steady relationship and a family. I started looking for someone to really do that with. When I was having a hard time meeting people in person I became active in the newspaper 'Personals' scene (before online dating) and then online dating. I HATED IT! It was SO bad for the ego most of the time that I'd swear I was never going to do it again and then I'd get lonely…I also tried going places and doing things where people who could share my philosophy would be. At least once, I really targeted someone who I thought would be "him". It didn't take long to find out he wasn't – it took a lot longer to convince him that I wasn't "her".

  4. Another time I met someone who could have been "him" at a friend's party – we dated on and off for 3 years. When he allowed me to really touch/see him and when he tried to truly be with me we worked out really well. I still think of him and occasionally we email…usually around birthdays. Our relationship didn't work because he was concerned his family wouldn't approve…he was Chinese.Then I met my husband (I was 34)and we clicked on many levels – I wouldn't put it up there with the magic of you and Cassidy, but it was pretty amazing….then we had a big parting of ways. It took us a year to get back together. During that year I had a relationship with a man who I still have a lot of respect for and am still FB friends with. We just weren't "it".I think of and wonder about all of them – the ones I wrote about and the ones I didn't. I don't talk about it much either, but I think it is human – even if you are deliriously happy to wonder and think "what if". And god knows marriage and children and life is not all joy all the time. Real partnership is understanding that sometimes you will really REALLY want OUT and just not going there because tomorrow or the next day or next week you will be just as in love as you were at the beginning. And sometimes it's just having a date-night with my husband who I share so many interests and life philosophy with ( not everything, but a lot ) and seeing/hearing other people on an obvious first date and knowing that when added up all of the good things by far outweigh negatives and neither of us would want to go back to the loneliness and uncertainty of those dating days.

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