Imagine If You Could Love The Right Person As Much As You Loved The Wrong Ones

by Lauren Martin

The perks of keeping a journal is that on rainy days, long subway rides and during large bouts of procrastination, you can look back and read about all those times you were a pathetic, "crazy" b*tch.

Spanning months or years back, you get to read about all those moments you thought you were in love with men whose names you can’t remember today.

You get to relish in all those times you were starry-eyed and love-hungry, eating Spam and convincing yourself it was filet mignon. You get to relive that terrible memory of being in love with someone you didn't even like.

I’ve been that "crazy" b*tch. I’ve been that girl who turns a simple encounter into a recipe for engagement. I was that girl who thought lust must be love.

The first person I felt a semblance of tenderness toward I assumed must be the new most important person in my life. The first person I wanted to sleep with and text all day must be someone I could love. I mean, that’s what love is, right?

After a good amount of time, I can't say I learned what love is, but I can say I've learned what it isn't. After one too many breakups that ended in not just loss, but embarrassment and a cold hard look at ourselves, we've all learned how to spot when we're starting to get ahead of ourselves.

We're finally starting to sort out the difference between love and sex, and with that distinction we're that much closer to understanding.

Yet, after all the bad relationships, important lessons and one too many declarations you wish you could take back, I think I can speak for everyone when I say, loving the wrong person is something you never want to do again.

But how do you know when you’ve found the right person and when it’s just a projection of your own fantasies? How do you know when it's real or when you're just trying to make it something real?

Since it’s impossible to define the elusive and indescribable feelings of love, our best bet is to just look back and think about what love wasn’t. And you know after you’ve broken up and had time to heal what was real and what was an embarrassing illusion.

Yet, there is hope in the bad breakups and the words you wish you could take back. There is hope because, at the end of the day, if you can love the wrong person that much, imagine how much you can love the right one.

Loving the wrong person is fighting for the sake of fighting; loving the right person is fighting because it's important.

After you realize you were loving the wrong person, you see all those fights you had where you weren't growing -- you were tearing each other apart.

You fought because you didn't get along, not because you needed to work something out. You fought because you didn't respect each other and you fought because you didn't know what else to do.

When you find the right person, when you're really in love, your fights are meaningful. They'll be necessary fights, ones that are always worth it because you're fighting for love.

Loving the wrong person means looking for the next best thing; loving the right person means you know it's the right thing.

This relationship is about knowing, not guessing. It's not about nights at bars wondering what other people might be like to bring home -- it's about being excited to get home to the only person you want to see.

You're not tempted, excited by or wasting time fantasizing about the next best thing. You're not creating scenarios in your head or dreaming of something different. You have everything you could ever hope for right next to you.

Loving the wrong person is being obsessed; loving the right person is just being.

Being crazy doesn't mean you're in love. Being in love is being comfortable enough to feel calm and secure.

Intense fights, loud make-up sex and possessive tendencies do not mean you're in the middle of a passionate love affair, it means you're out of your mind and probably very insecure in the relationship.

Being in love isn't about the theatrics, but about the peace it brings. When you've found the right person, you can just be with them without the drama.

Loving the wrong person is hard work; loving the right person doesn't feel like a job.

Stalking him until you've gotten the reassurance you need; looking through her phone to make sure she's still yours; calling every night to make sure they don't forget -- these aren't the signs of a loving relationship. These are the signs of a job.

Love is not about the work is brings and the insecurity it breeds, but the ease of it. Love is one of the only things in your life you shouldn't have to think about. It should come naturally; it should be the one calming presence in your life.

Loving the wrong person is always being worried about that next step; loving the right one is not even thinking of steps.

When you're worried about where it's going, that's usually a sign it's not going anywhere. When you're in love, you're not thinking of steps, plans, or next moves.

The life you've tried to make with countless others will just happen, effortlessly, as you fall into it without even realizing it.

Those trips you want to take, the parents you want to meet, the house you want to move into together will just come. There are no manipulations, ultimatums or final terms when it's real.