The first time I fell in love felt like finally being able to see.
It was as if a shroud had been lifted and I could finally see life for what it is.
Being in love was both the greatest and most horrible experience in my life. It made me feel in ways I didn’t think were possible to feel.
It made me want to be a person I didn’t think I could be and then turned me into a person I never thought I could turn into.
Love is a roller coaster ride -- one that doesn’t have a clear on and off ramp. What it does do, however, is change you. It takes your life and sets it on a different course.
If I hadn’t fallen in love with that one person, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. In essence, the person I am today wouldn’t exist.
People don’t learn from information. We learn from what that information makes us feel. In life, there is no better teacher than love.
1. The feeling of invincibility.
The first time you fall in love is the first time you realize even the seemingly impossible is sometimes possible -- you can do anything!
You feel as if the universe planned for the two of you to meet -- that it was destiny. The world looks brighter and more pleasant.
Your problems seem to disappear and all that’s left is you and the thought of the person you love.
2. Sincere worry.
I can’t exactly speak for everyone, but the first time I ever felt sincere worry was the first time I fell in love. Usually people only worry about themselves.
Even as children, we rarely worry for the safety of our parents or family members.
But when we fall in love, our partners' running 15 minutes late throws us into a panic.
Every time the person we love can potentially be in some sort of danger -- which we believe to be always -- we worry. We can’t help it. And, to be honest, we wouldn’t help it if we could.
3. Extreme jealousy.
People like to make jealousy out to be some sort of demon; it’s not. Jealousy is a very healthy part of any relationship -- as long as we’re with the right person and understand how to handle it.
You want to be jealous in a relationship because, as far as you’re concerned, the partner you love is yours and only yours. At the same time, you don’t want to have a good reason to be jealous.
If you do have a good reason to be jealous then you’re probably with the wrong person. Either way, you never really understand what jealousy truly is until you fall in love.
4. The need to be wanted.
Everyone wants to be accepted, appreciated even. Just the same, everybody wants to be wanted. Not until you experience love, however, do you understand what it means to feel the need to be wanted.
Love is a form of wanting. But it isn’t just wanting someone; it’s also needing that person to want you back. This feeling is truly only understood by those who have fallen in love and had their love rejected.
The more you get pushed away, the more you want to pull yourself in.
5. Complete confusion.
Depending on which stage of the relationship you’re at, you’ll experience a different shade of confusion.
At first you may be confused as to why your love isn’t being reciprocated. You may then be confused as to why your love has all of a sudden become reciprocated.
After that, you may find yourself confused as to how you could possibly love someone so deeply.
More likely than not, that confusion will one day be followed by the inability to understand where things went wrong -- how it all got so messed up. Mostly everything about love is confusing.
6. Intense yearning.
You can miss your friends. You can miss your parents, siblings, relatives. But none of that is yearning. Yearning is a whole other beast -- one that you don’t understand until you love romantically.
You can spend sleepless nights and countless lonely mornings wishing you could just touch, kiss, hold that one person who changed everything. It hurts. It literally hurts to be away from him or her.
7. True selflessness.
People are designed to be egocentric. It’s one thing to think about and romanticize about the heroics of risking your life for the person you love, and it’s another to actually be willing to take a bullet.
Love drives people crazy because it makes them want to do things they aren’t programmed to do.
It makes us want to put the person we love, his or her wellbeing, safety and happiness, before our own.
8. Intense, mind-numbing pain.
When you give yourself over to love and allow yourself to become fully engulfed by it, you are at your most vulnerable.
Everything you are, you’re giving over to someone else. You are allowing this person to see you the way only you see you.
You’re opening your shell and sharing yourself. While this is the most incredible experience in the world, it can also turn into the most horrific.
You never really understand what it means to love until you understand the pain that comes with it.
It could just be the pain of jealousy. It could just be a feeling of insufficiency or pointless worry. But as everyone who has loved understands -- at least the first time around -- you don’t leave unscathed.
I don’t think there is a more psychologically painful experience than having your heart broken. There are millions of ways to get your heartbroken, but the pain that results is shared by us all.
9. Seemingly infinite lingering sadness.
Not all relationships end happily. In fact, most don’t. Although the relationship may have ended, it’s likely to haunt you afterward.
Sometimes we get over those we loved quickly. Other times, not so quickly. Depending on how deep the love and how much that person influenced your life, you could feel a hint of sadness indefinitely.
It may not be unwavering, but a decade or longer of varying levels of sadness is not unheard of.
You don’t think you could hate yourself, truly despise yourself, until you come to conclude that the reason you lost the best thing ever to happen to you, is you.
It becomes difficult to look at yourself in the mirror. It becomes difficult not to resort to drugs and alcohol, or pointless, meaningless sex.
It’s one thing when things don’t work out because the two of you weren’t right for each other. It’s another when you find your soulmate and can’t make it work.
If we don’t hate ourselves for screwing things up then we hate ourselves for not being good enough.
11. Honest Hope.
Love will take you, hold you, keep you safe and warm, then one day chew you up and spit you out. Of course, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes things do work out. Sometimes things fall apart with minimal collateral damage.
There’s a million different ways to love and a trillion different ways to feel when in love. Love is difficult for people to define because it doesn’t fit a neat, single form. It’s mutable. It’s living.
It’s what binds us with another human being in a way science still argues is impossible.
After you have your heart broken, you reach a point where you have to make a decision: you either roll over and die or figure out a way to move on with your life. Those are the only two options and whether or not we make a decision, a decision is made for us.
Those of us who understand our personal strength pull ourselves up and keep moving forward. We find hope. Honest, true hope.
We begin to understand that either things happen for a reason or our destinies are entirely in our control.
Whatever outlook we decide to have, the result is basically the same: we get up, we dust ourselves off, and we hope for the chance to love again -- but this time with the right person, or at the right time, or in the right way, or all of the above.
We made mistakes and we learned from them. We don’t give up.