The other night, I was drinking wine on my rooftop with a guy I'd met at a concert, who'd just taken me to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. From start to finish, he was a great date... and it's been a while since I've had one of those.
Eventually, we got to talking about our families. He told me his parents were high school sweethearts and are still together. As he spoke, I couldn't help but think what a rare thing it is for two people to defy the odds and stay together over time. It seems like everyone is breaking up these days, even the couples I thought would last forever.
"My parents have me thinking love lasts forever," he laughed.
I appreciated my date's starry-eyed way of thinking, but I couldn't adopt his thought process. At least, not anymore.
I used to be like him. I used to think there was one right person out there for everyone. Don't get me wrong: I still believe in love's healing powers, its ability to make us happier and that two people can better themselves through their mutual love for one another.
But do I believe love lasts forever? Well, I don't know about that. And my fear of falling out of love is keeping me from falling in love.
I'm not stupid; I've seen what happens. People fall out of love all the time. One minute, Brad and Angelina are saving the world. The next minute, they're in "agony." One minute, my best girl friend is gabbing about how her most recent Tinder date is "the one," and the next, the supposed "one" breaks it off with her.
Then, you have my very own parents, who divorced each other when I was just a baby. Neither of them remarried. I suppose both of them grew to be just a little too jaded.
Not to be the girl who cried "daddy issues" here, but what more proof do you need that two people can fall out of love just as quickly as they fell in love? The better half of me tells me falling in love and staying in love is just something that happens in really corny (yet timeless) movies... and my dreams.
Like most people in the world, I crave true love. Every time I walk down the street, I'm low-key scoping the crowds for a guy to spend the rest of my life with. Every time I do my pre-bedtime ritual of listening to music and staring at the ceiling, I fantasize about him.
But I also know that, sometimes, true love can turn into a mere memory and just some lessons learned.
Is there anything scarier than investing so much of yourself into something doomed to fail? I don't want to wake up one day and realize I put so much time, hard work and expectation into something that made a fool out of me.
I like living in the safe fantasy bubble inside my head. In my fantasy, I fall in love and stay in love with someone. We grow comfortable, but not complacent. We share our lives together, but we don't resent each other for sharing. We find new ways to fall in love with each other every single day, and it doesn't feel forced — it feels natural.
But I'm too cynical to believe that my fantasy can ever be a reality.
Society demands that we fall in love, find ways to stay in love, and even if we fall out of that love, to fight for it despite it taking its last breath.
But what if I'm not a fighter? What if I'd rather risk being alone, not knowing if I'll ever fall in love again, than stay with someone I knew I once loved, but with whom the memory of that love isn't enough to make me happy?
In all honesty, I'd rather fall in and out of love a million times than stick around with someone I fell out of love with.
Maybe I'm just one of those girls who will fall in love with someone new every few years, not the girl that bites the bullet and puts a ring on it with just one person. A life like that would be a bit unconventional, yes, but not any less full of love than the lives of those people who choose to stay with one person forever.
For the very first time, though, I'm truly beginning to believe that, in this life, we only have one everlasting love affair, and that's with ourselves.
And for the very first time, I'm also realizing that maybe I'm OK with that.