I want to be really clear: I’m writing this because I have come to believe that we are set up for disappointment, and that doesn’t really work for me. I’m not sure about you, but I was taught from the time I was a little girl that a great love was meant to be all consuming, risk it all, head over heels feeling. Not by my parents – they actually taught me the opposite – but by movies, celebrities, magazines, books, and my peers. I started at the age of 13 looking for that very love: the one that was maybe sometimes (okay, often) emotionally abusive but always exciting, butterflies everywhere, roller coasters, and all that. And, after taking nearly a decade to learn my lesson, I think I finally learned it. Kind of.
You see, I recently got married to a man I love deeply. He is everything I need and simultaneously about only 25% of what I thought I would end up with. He is stable, steady, predictable, and not very emotional at all. Some might even say he is boring (sorry, babe) in the romance department. We once broke up for that reason. Before I started dating him, after multiple attempts at love, I finally learned what worked for me, and that works. It doesn’t just work – I am actually happier than I could ever imagine I’d be, and it is a sustainable happiness. A long-term happiness. And that’s why I am writing this.
I am writing this because I honestly believe that for the most part, as women in American society, we are fed a lot of lies. We are told to chase the romance; never stop fighting for the thing that seems like it is just out of reach. And so we do it, and we keep doing it. Why? Because that excitement keeps us interested. The low lows make the highs feel higher, and those butterflies in your stomach last just a liiiiittle bit longer.
But those butterflies? They’re just a chemical reaction. In the beginning they are there to keep us interested long enough to reproduce. After a while, well, that’s when those roller coaster rides turn the butterflies into adrenaline. Yep, you got it – that’s not romance, that’s fight or flight. The feeling you’re seeking and chasing and crying over is not romance: it’s your body telling you that there is a lion somewhere in your midst and you need to get the eff out.
That’s not love. It isn’t true love, it isn’t great love, and it certainly isn’t lasting love. That is a combination of lust and addiction. You literally become addicted to that feeling and then you can’t go with out. And that is what you end up chasing rather than spending time with much more important things in life. That’s right – you’re basically a drug addict. But hey, addiction can last you a lifetime, so if it works for you, keep at it. And good luck. Just be careful.
However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably eventually get exhausted and start to wonder where it’s leading you. Maybe you’ll even meet the steady, stable, predictable person that you have a deep deep affection for and are attracted to, but you wonder if they can really maintain your interest. Because the butterflies eventually fade, and you’re left with what feels like friendship…
Well I am here to convince you (hopefully) to maybe not push that person aside so quickly. Because maybe that person isn’t right for you….or maybe, if you initially had that “spark” and it seemed to fade and suddenly they’re more like your best friend that you often (or even occasionally) sleep with, they’d make a great life partner. Because that’s the thing – all relationships, just like all people, are different. We all have different needs. We all have different styles. But I can promise you that no matter what, you need to know that there is a huge spectrum of what “true love” feels like.
So I’m here to blog about me, about my relationship and marriage as it unfolds, coming from a place of realism and recognizing that this is NOT happily ever after. This is life. And maybe, hopefully, in reading about my life and my relationship, you’ll realize that yours isn’t so wrong or off pace or misfitting. It just isn’t Disney. And that’s okay.