In Love?

I can remember as a teenager, feeling a pain in the pit of my stomach when I thought about a certain woman. She was older than I. She was interesting, beautiful, a mother probably in her twenties. I was 14. I had never experienced such a feeling before. She occupied my thoughts, when her perfume wafted in my nostrils I was unbalanced. When she wasn’t around I wanted her to be. I enjoyed her smile. I enjoyed her tone of voice, and even though now she has drifted into a clouded memory with no name, I still have an idea of her somewhere within me.

As a man in my twenties I met a woman who taught me I was smart, intelligent worthwhile. The sex was open and caring. We spent long hours together when we could which wasn’t often. After a bunch of years she told me she would not leave her husband and I accepted that. I knew I couldn’t force her to be with me even though I felt we were perfect together. She did stay with him, I did get on with my life and yet we couldn’t leave each other alone for the longest time. Twenty years later I was still holding onto her, grateful for her, having the odd conversation in my head with her, sometimes fantasising about her and one day I sent her a message for her birthday and I realised she didn’t know who I was.

I have cared for many people in my life. I have had many adventures. Some were just pure fun no strings. Some were deep heartfelt commitments.? Sometimes I would get angry at a lack of attention. Sometimes it seemed I was obsessed, a term now known as codependency. Almost unable to function without the person of my hearts desire around me. I would be jealous if someone else got more attention than I. I would get upset when I would clumsily try to explain a point of view and unintentionally give offence.

I have evolved and grown over the years and the relationships. I figured out why I was with people who didn’t treat me the way I wanted, and felt I needed. I figured out my mistakes. I figured out what it was I was looking for. It took me a lot of time, a lot of tough decisions and experiences and of course lots of tears and heartbreak. I recently said to someone, I was looking for myself. The perfect partner for me, would be me, in a female body. I was anxious it sounded arrogant, I didn’t realise what path it indicated I was on.

So where am I now? I recently had a friend stay with me. I found her intelligent, witty, kindhearted, generous, thoughtful, beautiful and sexy.? I noticed the longer she stayed, the more my clothes were folded, or a meal was cooked or the kitchen was cleaned. I noticed that I began to think of her when I was not at home, or on the down time in work. I would relax at the smell of her perfume when I came home in the evening. I came to the point where the day she was about to leave, even knowing I could possibly make her uncomfortable, I confessed my thought, that I was in love with her. She was uncomfortable and the conversation stopped there.

So what has changed? I have. So too my definition of being in love. I had no hurt around her reaction. I had no expectation either. It was just a simple statement of fact. I felt it was perhaps irresponsible to let someone walk out of my life, not knowing when I would see her again without at least offering that I was in love with her. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t in love with me. It didn’t matter that we didn’t jump on each other and have some deeply romantic moment. It was an expression that couldn’t be kept in, that had to be said. It was said and I let go of all the outcome. I questioned myself afterwards. Yes I had hoped it might be requited, that is why I said it. How silly would it be to found out years later that I should have said something and didn’t? So I did it. But what did I mean when I said in love?

I no longer desire the other for myself. In love for me now is about enjoying the other in every facet that they have shown. In love is wanting the best for them, but not forcing it onto them. In love is aspiring them to be greater while seeing the greatness that is already there. In love is wanting them to be the best, to reach their dreams. In it I have realised my greatest lesson, I now believe I love myself. This has taken me half a century to learn. In loving myself I spoke my piece. In loving myself I accepted completely her response.? In love? Yes I think so. But demanding, or coming with expectations, or being disappointed with the other ? None of that has any space in my loving anymore. In my loving of the other at least this time, I have remembered and learned to love myself to.? It seems my codependency has been resolved. I am inspired to be a better me around this person, to be more attentive to the details of my own life. I am so grateful for this.? I am surprised I am not upset, or heartbroken. I am happy. I am happy to know I love someone and I am happy to learn I am loving myself. So if She would ever read this.? I would tell her again , it’s true what I said I love you. I am in love with you. I don’t need you. It feels very liberating really.? I hope she got over the initial discomfort and I hope her life is as full and beautiful as it seems to be every time we talk.

What is your story of being love? What was your journey like? Has it changed from when you were a younger you? Have you fallen in, run away or denied it? I am curious. I am still evolving.

Thanks for reading.