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The reality of true love

The heart is fragile like a potato chip.
The heart is fragile like a potato chip.
Jodi Bonner

“Tell me you missed me. Tell me you weren’t just lonely, but that you were lonely for me. I love you.”

Are these the words of a lonely, desperate woman? Or just one lost in love, and needing to feel she’s not the only one? I know them. I spoke them. So what does that say about me? We all know that most everyone is locked in that desperate race to find true love, but is there really such a thing? I have been referred to as a serial monogamist: I get involved in one long term relationship after another, but I never seem to be able to find that one true everlasting love. When you look at society today, it’s hard to imagine there is such a thing, when a month long relationship is considered “long term,” and children are getting pregnant but have a new partner before they even find out. So how do you know if the guy you’ve been with for two months has more potential for a future than the one you were with for seven years? What makes one relationship work, when the other eventually falls apart? And how do you know that the new one won’t either?

After so many failed relationships that I tried so hard to make work, I lost hope of finding the answers to those questions and finally gave up. I told myself I was done, that real love wasn’t out there, and that I wasn’t going to get involved with a man, just to break his heart. Again. I know I’m not the only one. Countless men and women have given up trying to find love and are living for the moment instead, for instant gratification. But if you think about it, as more people drop out of the game, the number of prospects for those few still looking for their happily-ever-after is slowly shrinking. It seems hopeless; as if it’s simply not possible to have a meaningful relationship anymore. Maybe the answers are out there, but we’ve forgotten how to see and hear them. I mean, let’s face it; there are over a million people in the greater Jacksonville metropolitan area. A million. And not one of them is “relationship material?”

For a year and a half I managed to keep the vow of singledom, living my life how I wanted to, doing what I wanted, and never having to account for my time or myself to anyone else. Until that day, when that man decided to strike up a conversation. A week later we had our first date. I didn’t expect or want a date. To me it was just going to be a quick lunch with a nice guy, a new friend from church, since I had to work that night and hadn’t had any sleep. Make nice, shunt him into the friend zone, and be on my way. Six hours later, when I finally made it home with only enough time for a 45-minute nap before my all-nighter, my worldview had been completely changed.

Two months down the road I experienced highs that have been the highest I’ve ever known, and lows that…well, you get the point. Kisses that take my breath away, as well as frustration that makes me want to slap that smirk right off of his face. It’s wonderful and terrible, exciting and terrifying. There is the potential for wondrous things, as well as for disaster. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

What happened? I found the solution, and it’s a simple one. Keep an open mind and open heart, and have a little faith. Everyone has heard the old cliché, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” This adage is not just true for life in general, but for love and relationships as well. Sometimes we get so focused on the destination--commitment or marriage--that we forget to experience the journey.

Am I going to marry this man, or even still be with him in another month? I don’t know, but in the meantime we enjoy each other. He made a CD for me, supports me in my writing, and pushes me to be a better person, among other little reminders of his love, and that’s really all I need right now. The rest will come in its own time, and I’m just here to enjoy the ride.

Just remember, don’t ever settle for less than you deserve, but also don’t expect Prince Charming to come charging in on his white horse to sweep you off your feet. There is no perfect love; it always takes work and effort. But is there true love? Maybe, maybe not. If, after a year and a half of pushing people away, I can finally open up to someone that gives me hope that I’m not going to spend my life alone, then I believe anyone can. All you need is an open heart and a little faith.


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