Three Stages of Love

I have been alone most of my life, in one way or another.  Looking for the one, or Love in general, always seeming to find that when someone loves me, either I am not emotionally in the right place at the time, or if I am in love with them, they do not want me.  When I do love I love someone hard, but I have also learned there are different types of love, each with their own qualities as we go through stages of maturity in our life.

A research study shows that most people only fall in love 3 times in their life until they finally either get it right or find the right one.  Each stage of this teaches us to grow, with the final stage being the easiest and purest form.

Stage 1 - Your First Love

For most people, including myself, this occured during high school.  You are smitten with someone, overcome with hormones, all the new feelings of being a young adult full of energy and desire.  You feel this feeling needs to last forever and you want to rush into it, and think you want to spend the rest of your life with them.  This love is blinding.  You do not think maturely, you do not act rationally most of the time.  Believing it will last forever, and perhaps for some people it does, but for most it crashes in flames as quickly as it sparked.   We focus on wanting to be a couple, to be seen by others around school, church, social gatherings as a confidence booster.  For me this happened hard around time of my high school graduation with girl I knew from church.

It came to the point where I obsessed constantly, plagued my dreams and my everyday life.  As I saw her pull away as college came, while she matured and realized she wanted other things.  I saw in myself it was like a drug withdrawal which brought out jealousy, depression and anger.. even anger inflicted at her for breaking it off.  This was not true love, and ended in emotional and sexual frustration which only led to another short lived rebound purely sexual relationship which also ended in pain.. because it was only trying to fulfill a need of hormonal release and closing of a chapter for me.


Stage 2 - Your Second Love or Hard Love

This love is not necessarily your first relationship, but is known as your hard love.  For me it was my first marriage.  Someone I knew from childhood.  We already had a friendship, family memories, similar background and religion and grew up together.  This second love is usually a long relationship or your first marriage.  This is where you are now going to learn.  You will be learning from each other, about ourselves, children may be involved as from the start it quickly accelerated without taking the time to know each others good and bad sides..  So now years later you have built a foundation, but may be unhappy as you have grown past this person. BUT you still love them and want it to work.

Almost 10 years together with my wife, many lessons were learned about ourselves, my tolerances.  It started off great at first, with the foundation of friendship.  The nights laying beside each other telling each other our deepest desires, and starting a journey together.  Then life kicked in.  Finances. Ex husband problems.  College.  Raising kids.  The daily struggle of life.

Through time I became depressed, just felt like I was being used as a resource to watch kids and do housework.  And though I loved my wife dearly.  I realized we were no longer "in love" with each other like we were in the beginning.  There were times I desperately just wanted to leave.  To just run away from everything.  But guilt kept me there.  Knowing my kids were little and not wanting to tear a family apart, even though I was dying inside, trying to smile, and not wanting to hurt my wife either who still claimed to love me, but could tell she was hurting as well.

This second hard love hurts.  It is a cycle of arguing, drama, pain, deceit and lying and hiding things from each other.  It is like an up and down roller coaster.  Where the high are great, like great sex after a week of fighting, but these moments are short, then you are right back to being depressed and lonely again, trying to smile for your children.

You desperately just want to be happy again and return to having that flame you had at the beginning.  You thought they were the one, and perhaps they WERE the one for that time in your life. Perhaps God put you both together because you both needed to learn these lessons no matter how hard it was, to understand what you really want from life and what you are going to become.  I knew I did not any longer want to be the one watching kids all the time, I wanted a career and I wanted to be in control of myself instead of someone else controlling me.

It came to the point where my wife became emotionally abusive, I have since forgiven her and we are friends, but toward the end the fights became increasingly more frequent, more dramatic, more painful and saying things to each other that you should never say to anyone you love.  Even though I was being ridiculed, put down daily, made to feel like a baby or worthless.  I still held on, thinking I loved her.  But the love was mostly out of fear. I would lose my family. I would lose the home we built. I would be alone and in pain.. and she had me so convinced that I was a bad husband, that no one else would ever want me.  So I held on as long as I could until one day.. She filed for divorce.  And if though my heart was shattered.  I did not fight it and gave up the ghost.  I had friends and family who helped me through.  I had no car or job at the time and was walking the streets.

This relationship was unhealthy and unbalanced. The drama was starting to affect the children.  I would break down crying in front of them.. and I can still remember their sad faces as they looked upon their father hurting, something kids should not be seeing.  This is abusive. Making your spouse cry and then leaving them to be alone with the kids, is not only mentally abusive to your spouse but hurts your children as well.  They may grow up believing this is a normal relationship and then treat their spouses the same way..  And I say to you, if you are at this point, even though you may still love them, and if you have tried everything hoping each time it will come out different but it doesn't.. It is a sign the time is nigh you may need to be moving on, for your sanity and your children.

Yes this part is messy, this part is hard, this part is scary.  You feel like you could lose.  But rest assured, everyone will be ok in the long run.

Why do we hold onto the drama, part of the reason because we have been with them for so long that we can't imagine what life would be like without them, even if staying together would make everyone miserable. I am here to tell you it is better to be alone, then to be stuck in that.

So despite feeling she was the one.. I knew at the end she couldn't be.  My heart was too damaged but I had hope to move on and start a career and to better myself.  I believed somehow the one was still out there.. maybe going through the same thing I was.. waiting for me to show up.

The Third and Pure Love

So we get to the third one, which studies have shown by the time you realize this is love, you both are damaged creatures, both have similar goals, have developed a friendship over the years, or perhaps in a short amount of time.  You both may have met each other in your life when you were damaged, still hurting and possibly still feeling love for the spouse who broke your heart.  Confused and new. But you realize that this person is healing your heart.

This is an unexpected love.  One that came out of nowhere. One that surprised you.  It may come to you when you are alone and moved on from the abusive relationship.  For me it came directly after my marriage. For others it might spring up during a bad marriage, to where this person shows you pure love and support that the spouse may no longer show you.  This person you may have known already.. For me it was.  This person may have also been unexpected because you no longer knew what type of person you wanted in your life.   It may be someone you saw on the street and would just not think you would end up with them.  But they turn out to be a diamond in the rough.

When this love hits you.. It comes easily.  As soon as you start talking to the person, the feelings swell up out of your heart.  It may not be the one you dreamed of as youth. But you love them unconditionally.  No matter what faults they have you look past them to their true being. This love ignores all the rules.  The heart wants what the heart wants.

Through the test of time, no matter what, all you feel is a love that makes you want to be a better person.  It gives you the hope to continue on.  This is someone you can just hold or look into their eyes and just know and feel complete, no matter what chaos is around you in the world.. This is someone who you can turn to and their love will still be there encouraging you to be the best you can be.  This love is non judgemental, and unconditional, not jealous and never angers.

This love is healing from the inside out.  And while life may still be complicated, you handle it maturely.  You only want each other to be happy and want the best for each other, even if you can not be together.

I feel I am experiencing this now and it is changing my life, making me realize who I am and what I want as a person. And though she may not be able to be with me. I have realized that the spark of love I have for her has changed me as a person, healed my heart. It has made me a better father, and given me the drive to break out of depression, to change my mind and body, and prepare myself for any possibility.  And if she is reading this. I hope she knows just how much I love her beyond words. No matter what happens. I always will. Maybe someday they will realize it is time for them to grow and move on as well, for their sanity and for their heart.. If so. I will be here waiting...

Todd


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