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Love Lessons

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs, that just because he may not answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care. ‘Cause some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

_ Garth Brooks

Three Great Loves

There’s a saying that has been around for a while that you get three great loves in your life. The first one is the fairy tale romance usually when we’re younger and not sure what we’re really looking for yet. The second being the tough love. The relationship that teaches us all the lessons, what works and what doesn’t. Then there is the third love, the one that lasts. Well in my life, I have had four loves. Apparently I needed two tough loves to teach me different lessons.

My High School Love

As a teen who often felt invisible and misunderstood it would only make sense that my first boyfriend would be cut from the same cloth. First friends in Junior High to then reconnecting at a Halloween party senior year. It took months of AOL instant messaging before I agreed to date him. I learned we both felt alone in our own homes and bonded instantly. Once together we each felt like no else saw us the way we saw each other. He was all of my firsts. My door into the dating world.

We got to a point where we figured this is it, we found the one. Until my defense mechanisms started to develop I kept second guessing myself and our relationship. I did things unconsciously to push him away to see if he really could take it. A few weeks before leaving for my freshman year of college, he ended it. I cried a lot but deep down knew it was the right thing to do. I didn’t know how to handle the feeling of not being wanted.

That breakup led to many of the hooking up and partying that started off my college career. I didn’t know who or what I was looking for. I had never had that kind of freedom and now that I tasted what it was like to date someone, it was all I wanted.

The Best Friend

Between my first boyfriend and my next there were a few guys that filled the spot but none were as significant as this one. We actually had dated once in high school for about a month but all we did was go for walks and talk about the Chicago Cubs. I ended it thinking this isn’t what I was looking for. A few years went by but I always kept my eyes on him. He went away to be a Marine while I went away to college. Finally in my junior year of college I reached out. He said he was coming home on leave soon and we continued to talk until he came home. When he finally came home and we went on a date it turned into one of the best nights of life. We walked the streets of Chicago from sundown to sunup.

He was the best friend I never even knew was there all along. Our connection was instant. We dated for a few great months but then my mind started to creep in again. Is this really what you want? Are you sure you really like him? The thoughts got the best of me and I broke up with him. Two years went by and we still kept in touch everyday. He was the guy I would run to for everything. My voice of reason. When I felt alone I would always call him when I needed a friendly voice. I finished college and we started dating again. This time it was the real deal, no more messing around. I waited over a year for him to finally come home for good. I went to California and he came to Illinois every few months throughout the year.

Not A Happy Ending

I was so excited when he finally came home. Until we realized we just didn’t know how to be in the same state. So you can guess it, we broke up AGAIN! Then in good sequence we got back together four months later. Everyone knows a relationship that is that on and off can’t be right. I kept thinking he’s everything I have ever wanted but something is missing. I was awful to him while trying to figure out what I wanted or how I really felt. Pushing him away just to drag him back in. When he finally had enough he found someone else and I was devastated. How unfair of me to think he would pine after me forever. I blew up his phone and yelled and cried. Finally he deleted me from his life.

Years after I kept thinking of him as the one that got away. The one I used and abused. I kept searching my brain for what I did wrong. What was missing from the relationship? So to try and find what was missing I got into a relationship that was all about the infatuation and not the friendship.

The One That Taught Me All the Lessons

My last relationship before entering my most recent one was with someone totally out of character for me. He was a bad boy, a crush I had from early college that I rekindled with over a dating app. I never thought in a million years HE would like ME. After reconnecting our relationship took off fast. His friends instantly accepted me into their group. I was starting a whole new chapter of my life with him. I had a good job, I was happy and I was dating a guy I had crushed on for years. Everything was dandy until I started feeling a lot more than he did. I was falling hard.

Christmas of 2018 he broke up with me because he just didn’t love me or feel the same way I felt. It shocked me to my very core. I was determined that it wasn’t over. I loved him and he just needed someone to show him that love. Sure enough we were at the same New Years Eve party and he confessed that he made a mistake. He loved me and he didn’t want to lose me. Now the hopeless romantic that was inside me loved it but the girl that was smarter, hesitated. I made the decision to take him back. Things were much better this time, I even ended up moving in with him. It had happened sooner than we both thought but if he was “the one” then it didn’t matter.

I Was Wrong

Everything was fine for a few months. We bought our dog Duke together. I also worked on relocating my job to the southwest suburbs. However, the job search was far more challenging that I had anticipated. I wanted a job in my dream field and I figured with me moving this was a great time to try. He was fine with the idea until it took longer than planned. Finally after months of beating around the bush and being afraid of his response I brought up how I felt. I knew the answer deep down was that he didn’t love me anymore and he finally admitted it. Right as I found a job, right as I felt like I was getting myself back, he changed my whole life again.

When this relationship first ended I looked at it as one of the worst things that ever happened to me. But now seeing how far I have come, it was one of the best things. It helped me move out of my parents house. It got me in the right location to find the amazing company I work for now. I learned what sort of man I didn’t want in my life. It gave me my puppy who was my sole purpose for living for many months. I think the best thing it gave me was allowing me to find myself. It left me high and dry and there was nothing I could do except rise and figure out who I really was.

What I Learned

I know this was a long post. I’m impressed you made it through the whole thing. I felt that each of these relationships deserved the proper explanation in order for you to understand what I have learned.

All of this leads to my fourth love. If I hadn’t been in that first relationship I would have never had the confidence to continue to date. Without the feeling of missing something in my second relationship I wouldn’t have been trying to find it. If it wasn’t for the life changing relationship I wouldn’t be who I am today. Each one of these built me up or tore me down in all the right ways. I am broken and I have finally found someone who takes the time to understand how to appreciate me for me. He doesn’t try to change me or fix me, he just simply loves me for who I am.

Without those relationships I wouldn’t appreciate him as much as I do. I wouldn’t know how to show how much I really care about him. All those relationships that I wanted so badly to work didn’t so that this one could. I know I have hurt people along the way and from the bottom of my heart I am sorry. I hope you have found happiness and have found what I have. We all deserve the person that loves us for who we are.

After reading this blog be sure to check out Maggie’s post about the lessons she’s learned from her dating life

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