When I was a kid, I believed all that BS about Prince Charming and one true love. When I did fall in love for the first time, real love, not just a crush, I thought I had the world was mine. There was no end in sight to what I thought was forever. Every sweet moment was one I would treasure in my heart always. I would replay those moments over and over in my head. He was my Romeo and me his Juliet.
Then the fairy tale ended, and drama ensued, but I still lingered in the Utopian world that I had made for us. We would stop talking, only for a week at first and I would make excuses. We would argue, but the tension would subside and then there would be smooth sailing once again. Each break lasted longer than the previous one. Yet, he kept coming back, so I kept believing in my vision of us together.
We would tell each other that we just needed some space, so there were others in between our bouts of exclusivity. I learned from those partners as well. They either gave me hope for what I could teach my love to do, or they gave me a reason to get back with my love. The experience of my first, tumultuous love trained me to keep seeing Prince Charming in each guy.
Everyone says that you never forget your first love, that you always have a spot for them in your heart. My first love and I kept that spot way too long.
Until finally we didn’t.
I couldn’t tell you what changed in him, or what made me give up. Maybe both of our stubborn personalities finally did us some good by making sure we wouldn’t talk to the other person first. However, our spiteful ending to a roller-coaster relationship got me accustomed to impending doom. How long will this relationship last?
On my 26th birthday, after being stood up by whatever Joe Shmoe was in my life, I vowed to stop trying.
Two weeks later, I met the love of my life. Even with all my snarky sarcasm, my bruised heart, my shattered visions, and my disillusionment, he was still able to get by my armed barrier.
When he would pay for things and make other nice gestures, I would be so flattered. He was such a gentleman — but weren’t they all, from the start? I would have flashbacks to my heartbreak, to each guy who’d let me down, and I would ground myself again immediately. I was waiting for all of his kindness to come back and bite me in the ass.
After four months, surprisingly my heart was still whole. I began to refer to him as my boyfriend in conversations. I started leaving things at his place, using the excuse that his apartment was closer to my work so it would save time when I stayed over. But I wasn’t fooling anyone.
We now live together, and despite the fairy-tale-like photos plastered over social media, there are some hard moments. But that’s one of the many things I love. If we didn’t have confrontations or discussions, we wouldn’t grow. I’m not saying it was all fun and games for everyone. There was an adjustment period, a time when you learn the little things that we all try to hide until we’re in good.
From time to time I do think about my first love whenever I’m feeling nostalgic, and let what-ifs cross my mind. But I quickly bring myself back to reality. I remember that what I was in love with wasn’t real. I now live in the real world with a real gentleman who would never put me through any emotional trauma. I know how much happier and stronger I am. Despite my inhibitions about commitment, I trust he will be patient as I take each step on the road to us.
A first love is innocent. You go in blind, with no understanding and sometimes with unrealistic expectations.
Second love, now that’s the real stuff. The blinders are off; you learn that it’s not only what a person says, but what they don’t say. You also learn that talk is cheap if you don’t back it up with your actions. Finding the person to respect, and accept all of you, without trying to change who you are is beautiful. I no longer believe in fairy tales. I now believe in something better, real life. -C. Sky