What do you say when your daughter asks you…

“What is “real” love like?”

Yes, she asked her single mother this. 🙂

So I thought about my “real” love. It was awesome. I realized that I had an inaccurate expectation of what love is. I had this idea that when you were falling in love, it is a profound, knock yourself on the head, you will know when it happens type of thing.

I was so wrong.

For me, it just happened. I was not looking for it, it dropped in my lap. I have never connected with a man like that before. It started off innocent enough, we clicked. The more we talked the more we clicked. We felt it the first time we spoke and he acknowledged it, saying “It’s like we’re soul mates”…and it was. I would find myself saying things I would never say to anyone. An example, if someone asked me how I was I could be half-way dead and I would say, “Fine” or “I’m okay, how are you?” With him, if he asked me how I was, I would just say what it was. I was irritated, angry, frustrated, whatever – but you know what? Whatever I was feeling disappeared when I heard his voice. I would instantaneously get happy.

I will never forget the sound of his voice, his smile, the expressions in his eyes, the way he walked…his body is engraved in my brain. He was the one I wanted to grow and learn new things with. We were both going through challenging times but the challenges brought us closer together. His heart was precious to me because I knew how scary it was to him to let someone get as close as I was becoming, especially since it was not planned. I probably would have been scared too if I realized what was happening while it was happening. I never wanted him to regret trusting me so I tried very hard to make the right decisions.

I never expected love to be so easy. We didn’t have to work at it, it just happened. Everyday it would get stronger and stronger. We would do the right thing simply because it felt right, not because we had to think about it. I could feel his love in his actions – he didn’t have to say it. There were times when I could feel when he was frustrated. I could feel when he was tired. He worked so hard and he wouldn’t let me help.

There was a hard part – being away from him as much as I was. In my heart, I would do whatever it took to make it so we could spend more time together. We both had things we wanted to accomplish. He had a work goal that scared me, but I wanted to support him. That meant he had to work, so I didn’t want to pull his focus away from that. I would patiently wait because I thought he was so worth waiting for. That didn’t mean that I didn’t miss him, that I didn’t want to spend more time with him.

Whatever he needed, if it was within my power, it was his. Monetary things are easy to give but the men I encounter are intimidated if the female makes more so I didn’t push anything monetary. I wanted to be there emotionally as well and that was more important to me. I wanted to be that person he could trust, a shoulder for him to lean on. He was not one to complain or ask for much, so if he requested something and I could do it, it got done. One time he asked for something and although we talked about it, he honestly never thought I would do it. When I got it, he changed his mind. I was furious and hurt because I couldn’t understand why he would request something and then change his mind. It was the biggest thing I ever done for a man and I was so proud. I could imagine the smile on his face every time he saw it and how much joy he’d experience having it and that’s all that mattered to me. It wasn’t an easy request and I went to a lot of trouble to honor it. When he said he didn’t think I would “really” do it, I didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how bad his previous relationships were if he thought I would stack lies like people stack pancakes.

Even though I was furious, we never argued. Never had a fight. We did not always agree on things because we had different points of view but it was in a way that complimented one another.

Can you imagine feeling loved each and everyday? That is how he thought love should be, actions speak louder than words. There was an energy that just emerged from him. No matter what I knew he was there for me if it was in his power to do so, and he was. I had no doubts about that and he was there for me during a very tough time for me. I did not have rose-colored glasses on. I knew he was not perfect, I knew I was not perfect, I knew we weren’t perfect, I knew we would have problems, I knew there may be some pain, scraps and bumps along the way, but that’s what life is about…going on a journey.

I laugh to myself remembering when he told me the first time he knew I loved him. He told me that not only did I love him as a person, I was falling in love with him. I agreed that I loved him as a person but falling in love? I would know if that was happening. He would laugh and say “It’s ok, I will be there to catch you when you fall.” I would laugh with him but I just knew he was wrong because I would know such a thing. He knew me well but he saw things I didn’t see. I saw things in him he wasn’t ready for me to see. Things he probably preferred I didn’t know. That’s the drawback of having a connection like that I suppose.

It ended as quickly as it began. It was then that I accepted I was in love with him. Because I loved him enough to let him go because more than being with him, I wanted him to be happy. We had a very civil conversation. No screaming, no crying, no fighting, no drama…it was just over.

I never experienced a connection like that before and it changed my ideas on what love is. I grew up a lot from that experience. Previous to that experience, I had a very naive idea of what love was. I don’t have all the answers but I definitely see why many relationships don’t work.

So how do I explain all of this to my daughter? I don’t know how…yet… 🙂