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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Falling in love

I've been in love once in my life.  I was 22 and I met E. in an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.  From the time of our first date, we were inseparable.  In fact he pretty much moved in with me that day in that he stayed the night and never left.  After a few months, we made it official and moved all his things in. We had such an intense connection.  I remember one time when we were making love feeling so connected to him that we were practically the same person. 

E. was a great guy.  If you met him today, you'd love him.  He had a way of making everyone feel comfortable and inspiring confidences.  It didn't matter to me that he was 13 years older than me.  We were together for about four years.  We bought a house together.  Much of the time, we were very happy.  My feelings for him never wavered.

I broke up with E.  It was agonizing.  But it was the right thing to do.  I was growing up and he wasn't.  He still believed there was a perfect person out there for him and he never fully committed himself to the relationship.  Or maybe I just wasn't enough for him.  We went to counseling.  I wanted to get married and he wanted our relationship to be "perfect" before he committed to that.  I knew there was no such thing.

I loved E. fully and completely.  I was vulnerable.  It was risky and I lost.  The experience changed me profoundly.  I have never given myself away like that since.  And I've never been in a relationship since where I so deeply loved my partner.

Which isn't to imply that I do not love my kids' dad.  I do love him, but I was never "crazy" about him.  I have always felt that he loved me more than I loved him.  I've always felt that if I had to walk away from the relationship, I could, unscathed. 

I can see now that I built a wall around myself.  I married a man who was deeply in love with me because it felt safer than the alternative.  Perhaps I've tolerated things in the relationship because I feel guilty that I don't feel that way for him.  I've given him things because I can't really give him my heart.

Deep inside, I long.  I want to be in love.  I want to be crazy about someone.  I know E. wasn't the right guy.  Even now, 11+ years after our relationship ended, he is still single, going from relationship to relationship trying to find the "perfect one".  He has no kids.  He turned 50 last weekend.  I still love him, but I don't hold any illusions about who he is and what he is capable of.

But I still wish things had been different.  And I hope for something more in my future.  That is my secret.   

10 comments:

Bonnie said...

Thanks for sharing. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is one of the bravest things you can do.

Annie said...

Wow. It hurts when love isn't reciprocal. My mother always says there is a lid for every pot. I hope you find your lid someday.
:)

Seeing in colour said...

This was a sad and beautiful story at the same time... thank you for sharing... its better to have loved, then to have not loved at all hey?!
I have never been in love and this story was very sweet.

Read said...

This really hit a nerve with me right now - I'm sitting, right this minute, in my room thinking about my relationship with my husband of 17 years. We're having issues and I think much of it might stem from walls I once put up to keep me safe. As I've torn them down, one by one, I'm not sure where that leaves us... I too long to be crazy about someone - to be wildly, over the top in love - I feel your hope and your longing.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing this. When I met my husband he was in love with me, I really wasn't with him. But he then grew on me and I learned to love him. However sometimes I still think about my boyfriend before my husband and wonder how he's doing.

Tina said...

wow-I have been in two real relationships. I have loved in both but in very different ways. I fell out of love the first time because my illusions of what love was and how a relationship should be built and carried out changed over time. I was young and did not realize that the kind of love one has can be different with different people and different stages of life.

I prefer to believe that several lids can fit on a pot. and if one of those lids breaks another can be found. the first may be shiny with a bright nob while the second might be made of stainless steel and have a solid seal. Either or both serve their purpose at the time.

The walls bit is a tad trickier...and I don't know if I am ready to even admit that I do or do not have them :)

Way to be real with us Amanda.

Lonicera said...

In 40 years of adult life it's now happened to me 4 times, the common denominator being that in every case they fell for me first and drew me in, and being a 'forever' person, I found it difficult to cope when they lost interest or got interested in someone else - each time it took me 5 years to get over it. My present relationship is like yours - there are no real highs, but no real lows either. I'm tired of emotional rollercoasters, but I don't know about walls - I don't know how to build them, wish I did.
A wonderful honest post Amanda - I think your situation is more the rule than the exception.
Caroline

MandaPanda said...

Fantastic post! I agree with the different lids theory...mix & match, if you will. I don't think there's just one person out there that can make us happy or feel over the moon. It takes time to tear down the walls but it sounds like you might be ready. There comes a time where you just get tired of being guarded and the wall needs to come down or you'll drive yourself crazy.

Christine said...

I love this post. It's so brave to share that part of your history and your soul.
HUGS.

Joia said...

Wow Amanda...intense! While I can't say I can relate to the love you had with E, I can relate to your outlook on relationships. I'm madly in love with my current boyfriend, but I know that our love together will never be perfect (he lives 2,400 miles away dammit!)...we do the best we can for each other. As long as we love each other, care for each other and genuinely try to make each others' lives better...that's enough for me. I look back on crazy, passionate sexual experiences, men I thought I'd loved...eh. Who has this all figured out?