The first time I saw him, I knew. I knew that he would become a part of my life. I knew that despite my current situation, and regardless of whatever his might be, that we would be together. It was like nothing I had ever felt before. It was more real than any crush I had harbored in high school, more magical than any movie scene, and it was the most perfect cliché I had ever experienced. It was indeed love at first sight.
He was my everything. He came at a time, when I needed someone. When everything else seemed bleak, and he brought meaning and hope back into my life. We connected on a level I had never thought possible with another human being. He seemed to understand me in a way I wasn’t sure I even understood myself. We shared meaningful silences and secrets with one another, while watching countless sunsets and sunrises. It seemed as though we were invincible, perfectly complimenting one another’s quirks, fueling each other’s passions, and utterly in sync emotionally. I could not fathom how I had lived before him, and I truly thought I could not live without him. I believed with every fiber of my being that we would spend the rest of our days just as we had spent the first.
Then life happened. Life with its highs and lows, some natural and others induced. It all came crashing down around us and our love wasn’t strong enough to stay afloat. In the end, there wasn’t much left to salvage. Too much had been destroyed, including my belief in “soul mates”. The one truth that I came to accept from the view of the wreckage was that love is not enough.
Years have passed and we hardly talk. But he remains my first love and I will forever recall those first few months with a smile on my face. I don’t feel sad for what I lost, but rather happy about what I’ve gained. From being with him I learned some invaluable lessons. I learned my strengths and weaknesses while being a part of a relationship. I have learned what I am willing to compromise on, and what standards are too important for me to give up. I have learned that there is more to love than all encompassing passion. I have learned that when I want something I need to ask for it. I have learned that angry is not a pretty mood for me, and that yelling is not productive. I have learned to be honest, with myself and with others about how I feel. I have learned that you cannot change people; both because you shouldn’t have to and because people only change on their own terms. I have learned that you can’t forget betrayal no matter who commits it, even yourself. I have learned that a healthy relationship requires you to stay true to yourself; whether that means not giving up on your hobbies, or making time for your friends (without your boyfriend in tow), just simply spending time alone (even if your boyfriend is available), and not giving up on your goals and dreams to make a relationship easier.
Since then I found love again, and in a much more unexpected place than the first time. It was almost as magical and possibly more epic. However it lacked that naivety that I brought with me into the first one. I had already built stronger walls that once could have been easily penetrated. I had learned too many lessons from the first time, and I refused to make the same mistakes. I was brutally honest, I spoke my mind freely, and expressed my emotions despite their inevitable consequences. I made time for my friends, I followed my dreams, I rarely yelled, I stuck to my hobbies, I voiced what I wanted, I never betrayed him, and I gave it all I had. At the end of the day though, it wasn’t enough.
I implemented all the solutions to the problems of my previous relationship, and new problems arose in their place. I raised my standards to an almost impossible level for anyone to ever meet, and naturally he wasn’t capable of meeting them. I eventually gave up someone wonderful to fulfill my dreams.
Having had some alone time to reflect on my two big romances, I have realized some things about love, relationships and “soul mates.”
- A suitable match has nothing to do with what looks good on paper. Someone could be absolutely perfect in the eyes of your parents, but you just don’t click, or there is no chemistry.
- On the other hand you may totally click and have all the chemistry in the world, but they don’t treat you well, or you don’t like the way they make you feel. A partner should bring out the best version of yourself, otherwise what’s the point?
- You should never have to give up your goals to make a relationship work. If it’s meant to be and the person is worth it, they will make space in the relationship to allow you to pursue your dreams. Sometimes that may be difficult if your dreams involve traveling the world, but the right person will share those goals and will be by your side in your instagram photos at each place you visit.
- Love is about falling for all the minute details of a person, things that others may see and just accept, or simply pass over, but to you they mean everything. Each mannerism, habit, or facial expression reminds you of why you love that person. Ironically, these same details may be what you grow to despise about someone when things go sour.
- Love is not happily ever after. It is hard work, and it is full of obstacles. Its intensity may fluctuate, but the ultimate test is how you choose to react when it is at its lowest.
- Love is always a surprise. It truly cannot be looked for, because it has a habit of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. Sometimes at impossibly inconvenient times and under the most unusual circumstances. It may at first take the form of friendship, which can be even more exciting because you get to relearn a person from a different perspective. But without fail if you try to force it, you will not succeed. Love just happens, and any amount of wooing, tricks or seduction will not will it into being.
- “Soulmate” is a fictitious concept made by a combination of Hollywood and religious ideals that has no scientific relevance to back it. The whole idea is utterly absurd. How can there be one person out there that is a perfect match for you and you can somehow find them amongst the 7 billion people wandering the Earth? In spite of my opinion on the topic, I do believe that there are several people that you may be extremely compatible with. And when you meet one, it feels like thousands of electrical charges are being transmitted between the two of you and nothing else matters. Unfortunately, other things do matter, and life does not stand still while you admire one another.
- The most logical and healthy relationship is built on shared interests, similar goals, the ability to communicate effectively, the mutual desire to compromise and or lower some of your standards, and most importantly the willingness from both sides to fight the odds.
- There is more to life than love. Love is a wonderful and beautiful emotion, it makes the world go round, balances out hate, and makes some days worth waking up for. However, sometimes we get so caught up in it that we forget all the other amazing things out there. For instance non-romantic love and platonic relationships; they typically last much longer, they are usually stronger and don’t require as much work or care to maintain their strength over the years. Then there is always my go-to-advice: travel; the possibilities are endless. I dare you to try to run out of things to see or experience in this world.
Ultimately, love is an emotion that comes and goes. You may have it countless times, or you may never experience it. However if you’re open to it and not hunting for it, it will find you eventually. Relationships are comprised of hard work and choices, it’s not supposed to be easy, but it should be worth it. Soul Mates are a thing out of fairytales, but there is some logic mixed up somewhere behind the idealistic theory. Don’t give up. Just live your life for you and when you do meet that special someone and choose to make it work, it will be all the more beautiful because you will have first learned what it means to be you.