I;ve been in love all my life, and most recently I am madly in love with my lil' daughter who has suddenly achieved the ability to blow foamy bubbles from her mouth...aww!
For some of us, love is fireworks and crackers, and for others it is a deep romantic despair, but over my years I have contemplated the massive differences I have felt in loving people who are still in my life and romantic love.
I think this whole notion of romance puts us of course when it comes to love and I too made the massive mistake of interpreting my speeding heartbeat as "love" when actually, it was just "stress".
Loving someone in a romantic way builds up an expectation of the type of emotions that you are meant to feel, and when I assess how I got to the stage where I am (married to someone after being with another for many many years), falling in and out of love all of my life: I think I know what love is. And if I could go back 10 years and have a chat with myself here is the advice that I would give:
1.) Love is friendship
You love your friends don't you? Your brothers, your sisters, your cousins and parents. You may love shoes, or ice cream or chilling in the garden. You have many loves in your life and your romantic love should be no different. You dont get butterflies in your stomach when you see your best friend and you shouldnt get butterflies when you see your husband. You should get comfort, security, respect and openness like you do in any other love relationship. So if all you are feeling right now is butterflies - you are not in love. You are just nervous, stressed and confused. Its true, I mean: you're not gonna listen to me, but it really is true.
If you want to have a happy relationship that will grow and develop over time, then comfort and security are the major things you need to look for. If your "love" is making you confused and you are losing your appetite, losing sleep and worrying all of the time, you may confuse this with "romance" but its not romantic to suffer, and its not romantic to feel stressed and confused. If he or she is giving mixed signals, then they are mixed, if they are lying then they are a liar and if they like you: it will be blatantly obvious in the way they treat you - so don't google a million times trying to interpret what is going on in a way that is acceptable to you - accept that games are being played and mixed signals are being sent and move on.
2.) Attraction is (almost) meaningless
Your marriage partner is someone you will have to have sex with and so there must be a degree of attraction going on. However, attraction can be blinding and so be careful when you find yourself gazing at someone just because they look good. They wont look so good once they are screaming and shouting at you every day, controlling where you go and who you can speak to and burping and farting in front of the TV shouting football chants while your baby is sleeping. Attraction (after a certain level of Jahil behaviour) goes right out of the window.
3.) Money is (almost) meaningless
Being financially stable is very important and so you should value these things, but having fun, sharing things and spending stime laughing together is more important. A poor man that you can have fun with will keep you happier for much longer than a rich arsehole. You can change the money situation with hard work and qualifications, but an arsehole is an arsehole for life.
4.) The man of your dreams is the one closest to you right now
Your best male friend, your male friend, or just that male that you find oh so easy to talk to - he is the one for you. You wont realise it, and you wont spot it until it is too late and he or you are walking down the aisle with someone radically unsuitable - but it really is the case.
5.) All dating and relationship books are full of shit
Not wanting to be alone will drive your hunt reflex and each time you meet a guy /gal you will hit the books and google like a woman / man possessed. Dont do this - they are full of bad advice. Most relationship experts will advise a woman to "play hard to get" in which case your relationship will instantly be dictated by game playing - and you will end up attracting a man with no respect for boundaries. If you ignore a guy - the good guy will respect your need for space and leave you alone, and the abusive guy who doesn't give a shit how you feel will keep pursuing you. Unfortunately, many women fall for this trap interpreting this lack of respect as "love" and "romance" but actually - if you tell a guy to f-off and he doesn't f-off: is that really a good thing?
Another common lie that relationship gurus will tell is that a woman should do x and a man should do y, which definitely works if all you want is a husband and all he wants is a wife. But in truth, what we all want is a RELATIONSHIP so like all other relationships in your life, your husband and wife one is one that should blossom naturally.
6.) People dont change
Once a liar, always a liar, once a cheater always a cheater and so on and so forth. If you think the shit you've been exposed to before marriage is hard, you better believe its going to get worse and worse: so first red flag - get out!
7.) Times have changed
and what that means is that you have a certain life and a certain lifestyle expectation and that is not something that needs to or should be changed: rather than change yourself - find someone who doesnt mind who and what you are.
8.) You won't take any of this advice - but you will give it one day
I was told all of these things, and I thought it was just the words of bitterness and twistedness and bad experience, being young naive and stupid: I thought MY situation was different, MY romance was real, MY love could change all and everything. I was wrong, just like you are: it seems to be the way - we all learn the hard way, and probably you will learn the hard way too.