What is love? Can anyone truly answer that question? Is there even a solid answer to that question?
We as human beings all experience love in a variety of ways. No love is exactly the same, yet we all think we know what love is.
Now, let me tell you the story about how I wasted three years of my life thinking I knew what love was...
I was young, naive, and simply fascinated by the idea of being in a relationship. Everything about being with someone always seemed so magical in the movies that I assumed this was exactly how my relationship would pan out. That was how it started at least. The constants texts and calls, always hearing those three little words "I love you," receiving flowers and candy on a monthly basis, and basically everything cliché that comes with being in a relationship occurred for the first bit of my newfound romance. I was young and in love. The feeling of having someone obsess over you and constantly show you affection was addicting to me until one night, everything changed forever.
We went to a party. It was all fun and games at first but parties can easily go sideways when too much liquor gets added to the mix. My boyfriend had had his fair share to drink and was quickly getting sloppier as the night progressed. I was embarrassed of his actions so I decided to hang out with my girlfriends and just let him drink his face off. Eventually his friends decided to call him a cab and send him home.
He began yelling at me from the door to come home with him but I did not want to. Why should I have to leave a party early because he drank too much, right?
"You better come with me now, you fucking bitch"
"Stop being a dirty whore and leave with me right now."
"You are not hot enough to get any other guys so there is no point in you staying."
"I just want you to come home with me so I can fuck the shit out of you and if you don't come I'll find someone else to fuck."
These were just a few of the exclamations he yelled to me across the party.
Everyone was staring and could hear everything he was saying. I felt humiliated and I just wanted it to stop, so of course I caved in and decided to leave the party with him.
We left the party hand in hand and began walking up to the street where the taxi would pick us up. I thought everything was fine but I was very wrong.
As soon as we got far enough away from the party where nobody could see us, he forcefully pushed me to the ground and started swearing and screaming at me. He told me I was fat, ugly, useless, and a waste of space. He also told me that I would never find anyone that will treat me better than how he treats me. Sadly, I believed him and everything that was coming out of his mouth. His words got into my head and I couldn't help but feel like I deserved this kind of treatment.
I finally gained the courage to stand up. I went over and hugged and kissed him and told him how much I loved him. In return, I got shoved to the ground again.
I saw the cab approaching and he told me he would be going home alone.
I sat there for at least an hour on the cold hard pavement just sobbing away, feeling completely defeated. "Why me?" I wondered. I had never seen him act this way before. I kept trying to tell myself that he was extremely intoxicated and would not have treated me this way if he was sober. I made every excuse in the book for his actions because I wanted to believe that I was in love with a good person. Regardless of how I had just been treated, I still loved him.
Once I was able to gather myself and control my emotions, I decided to call my own cab and go to his house. "WHY!?" I ask myself now. Looking back, this was the biggest mistake I could have possibly made.
When I got there, I called him and simply asked him to come outside to talk. I have never been the type of person to stand up for myself. I tend to let people walk all over me and take advantage of my niceness. I didn't have the intentions to fight with him or cause any type of confrontation. I simply just wanted to discuss what had occurred and make sure it would never happen again.
We made small talk for quite a while and then I finally built up the courage to ask him...
"What got into you tonight?"
I guess I probably should have worded this question a little bit better because this led him to get angry all over again.
"What got into me? What the fuck got into you, you little bitch! Next time I say we're leaving, you fucking respect that and leave!!"
I really did not want to fight or have him hurt me again so I simply agreed with whatever he was saying.
"You're right, baby. I am so, so sorry," I said as I got closer to him to give him a hug and kiss.
He punched me. I could not believe it.
I... a woman, had just been punched in the face... by a man. And not just any man, my own boyfriend. The worst part was, he didn't even care, and neither did I.
"Let's just go to bed," I said.
"I'll go inside to my bed. You're sleeping outside, you worthless piece of shit."
Worthless piece of shit? How was I the worthless piece of shit?
Looking back on it now, I guess I was worthless, but I definitely was not a piece of shit.
And still, after everything, I spent that night sleeping outside on his driveway in the freezing cold just like he had asked of me. I didn't actually get much sleep because my brain was going a mile a minute trying to process everything that had just gone down.
Around 5 AM, I decided I would go home. Not because I was angry at him, but it was simply too cold outside and I was only wearing a little dress and high heels.
As soon as I got home, I went to bed. I did not want to see anyone and have to explain what had happened to me. I slept for hours until my phone rang and woke me.
It was him.
"Hey, Sweetheart. How did you sleep? Do you want me to come pick you up and we can go get some food somewhere?"
What? I was so confused. Why was he being so nice and acting like nothing had happened?
We ended up going for food and everything seemed completely normal. Was it actually possible that he did not remember what had happened? He was back to being the perfect boyfriend so I told myself it must have just been the alcohol influencing his actions and I was sure it would never happen again. I didn't want to discuss it with him or make him feel bad for what he had done because I knew he did not mean to act the way he had.
We continued to date as if things were normal. Sadly, I was wrong about one thing though. The physical violence did not completely stop. Whenever he got too intoxicated, things got bad but not quite as bad as the first time. I never got punched in the face again but still every now and then he would shove me down or grab my arm so tight that it would bruise. For whatever reason though, I couldn't seem to leave him. I think I was scared, scared that if I tried to leave he would hurt me because I knew he wouldn't let me get away easily.
After a couple years of an unhealthy, unstable relationship that I felt trapped in, I decided enough was enough. Not only was I physically hurt, but I had completely lost sight of who I was and who I wanted to become as an individual. I finally got the courage to open up to my best friend about what had been going on for the past year or so. She said she had noticed bruises on my body for quite some time and that I no longer seemed like myself. She said would do whatever she could to help me move on from all this trauma.
The breakup ended up going a lot smoother then I suspected it would. I told him that I was moving away for university and long distance was not something I was interested in. We both cried because regardless of everything, there was still a lot of love shared between us. I felt sad because I did love him but I also felt a sense of relief knowing I was finally out of a toxic relationship. It was also able to get over him very quickly when after the fact I found out I was being cheated on the whole time.
I did not actually want to move away from home, but I thought if I did I would feel safer and be able to get a clean start at my life. I thought I was going to be okay, but it wasn't until I fell in love again that I realized my past relationship experience was haunting me still.
Right away, when I moved I met an extremely nice guy. He was kind to me in every way and truly made me feel special. Some people would even say we were a match made in Heaven and that he was perfect for me. The thing is, I was not perfect for him. I wanted to be but I simply couldn't, given my past history with relationships. I struggled to completely give myself to him because I was worried something bad would happen again. I often kept my distance to avoid any form of hurt, whether it be physical or emotional. The sad thing is, this man deserved all my love. He deserved love more than any other guy I've ever met and he was willing to love me forever, but I couldn't do the same. Sadly, by the time I did start feeling safe with him and I began giving him all my love, it was too late.
I had given myself to this man and I had promised to love him forever but because of my uncertainty in the beginning, damage had been done and our relationship also came to an end.
Nine months of him loving me unconditionally, yet all I ever did was push him away. People often say "you don't know what you've got until it's gone" and I can say that is 100 percent accurate.
I have finally come to terms with the fact that I still am a bit of a broken person given my past relationships. Both relationships taught me valuable life lessons. The first one taught me that I am NOT worthless and that nobody should EVER be able to be in control of me and my happiness. The second relationship taught me that I am loveable and that I am also capable of loving again. When comparing both my relationships, I realize now that I never really did love the first boy. I loved the idea of him but in comparison to how much I love the second man, the first love never really existed.
Notice how I referred to the first one as a boy and the second one as a man?
For a while, I had lost all hope in men and I didn't believe good guys existed. Sadly, that's because the first person I was with was a little boy and nothing more. You simply cannot refer to someone like that as a man. Thankfully, boyfriend number two was able to prove to me that good guys are still out there, even though they may be rare to find.
I am finally confident that someday, a man is going to come into my life and love me so hard that all my broken pieces with magically be placed back together.
So now, back to my original question...
What is love?
To me, love is being happier when you're in your significant others presence. It is forgetting the past and focusing on the future. It is building each other up instead of tearing each other down. It is bringing out the best in one another. It is the willingness to forgive and forget after an argument or a mistake is made. It is having the ability to be your true self. It is being goofy and weird and never judging one another. It is ALWAYS kissing goodnight and constant "I love you's."
But most importantly...
To me, love is a man with brown scruffy hair, beautiful blue eyes, and a perfect glowing smile that lights up my heart whenever I see it.
And even though I let him get away, his face will forever resemble what love means to me.
So now tell me... What does love mean to you?