I just went through a breakup-- a prettty rough one in fact-- and in the aftermath, Grace and I were discussing love. Grace said to me, "you know, you are supposed to have 3 different loves in your life." So here we are, I'm writing about the 3 loves.
Love #1: The Fairytale Love
This is the love that we see in the movies. We try to emulate it, even at the cost of personal truths. Our significant other can do no wrong and the proverbial "red flag" doesn't even exist. Needless to say, this love usually happens at a young age, where the most important thing about the relationship is how other people see it. External appearances are necessary for the success of this relationship because the couple is quite literally acting out their Disney fantasy.
I got really lucky in this category. I really did have the perfect first boyfriend. He was cute but not so cute that he would definitely cheat on you, he came from the nicest family, he was patience and polite and just all around a good human. We didn't work out (obviously) but to no fault of his, we just weren't the ultimate match.
I remember this relationship so fondly and in hindsight, I think it is because it was Love #1.
Love #2: The Hard Love
So in between Love #1 and Love #2, I had a few other relationships. One significant one and a few other not so significant ones. For the simplicity of this article, I will fast forward through those few years to Love #2.
The Hard Love is really...well...hard. It is the one you keep fighting for even if you shouldn't be, the one that brings you to your breaking point more times than you'd like to admit and the one that leaves you questioning everything.
This love is here to teach you-- to teach you about yourself, about the way you love and about the way that you want to be loved in return. If you don't learn from this type of love, it is common that you will find yourself stuck in it.
I bet that you have heard more than one friend (or maybe you say it yourself) say, "I always choose the wrong ones." Well, this in fact, is probably true if you haven't broken the cycle.
I was really unlucky in this category.
We met on Tinder. We talked for two months straight-- and by straight I mean I never left my phone unattended for more then 20 seconds-- and fell "madly in love", whatever that means.
From the beginning there were a few red flags:
Red Flag #1: He was almost 30, had no job and was living with his parents (if only this was the worst it got)
Red Flag #2: He straight out told me he had a problem with drugs (he also had a serious alcohol problem but at age 20, I just thought he was "fun"... this oversight came back to bite me more then once)
Red Flag #3: His last girlfriend had a restraining order... 'nuff said
Red Flag #4: I felt like I was being manipulated from the day I met him (ladies... trust your gut)
Red Flag #5: He was the kind of beautiful that screamed, I'm almost definitely going to cheat on you
Red Flag #6: The first time my father (who usually doesn't have much of an opinion on my boyfriends) said to me, "Alexandra, that guy is bad news." What can I say, dads know best sometimes.
One of my favorite quotes of all times: "Red flags just look like flags when you're wearing rose colored glasses." And indeed, I was not only wearing rose colored glasses but I was also temporarily blind.
Without going into detail... this relationship put me through the wringer. It destroyed my sense of self, my self-confidence and my trust in men. Almost three years out, I am still rebuilding myself. The upside of this whole thing is that I did learn. I learned what manipulation and deceit look like... even in their most disguised forms. I learned how to deal with a cheater. I learned that passion doesn't equal strength. I learned to let go. I learned to only trust actions, not words. And of course, I learned to trust my gut and pay attention to red flags.
To recap, the Hard Love is the one that you learn from... hopefully. Love #2 hit me like a train but it taught me so much that I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Love #3: The Never-Saw-It-Coming Love
I am less qualified to write about this type of love, as verified by my newly single status, but I will give you the jist.
This type of love is the one you don't see coming. It's the one that feels right but you can't always describe why. Love #3 allows you to be the best version of yourself and to love whole heartedly and unconditionally.
This is the type of love that's even better than what you see in the movies because its real, its honest and is perfect in its imperfections.
Cheers to finding this type of love!