My Love Story - Falling In Love Is The Beginning

I have always fallen in love easily. I have lost count of the number of boys I have said "I love you" to over the years, admittedly probably mostly in a drunken slur. Why did alcohol make teen me feel that way AND encourage me to share all? It’s strange to think back to my angst filled early years where I would spend my school day trying to get a glimpse of my latest crush. I would spend weeks barely thinking of anything else and I’m not sure I want to think of the times I drunkenly declared “I love you” to poor unsuspecting victims at house parties. 

As a teen and young woman I loved the heady feeling of falling for someone new, the tingles I would get when our hands accidentally touched or we brushed past each other and the way my tummy did a somersault when they looked at me. I believed in love at first sight, I believed in fairy tales, I believed in forever love. The books I read always ended with them falling in love and living happily ever after, but falling in love is really just the beginning.

Two hands in shadow making a heart shape with out of focus colours in the background

Given how I thought falling in love was meant to be it's surprising that most of my serious relationships didn’t start with that thunderbolt moment. 

University Days

What I would consider my first serious relationship started the summer before I started University. I had known him for a while before we got together one night in that Solihull nightclub. Against the odds we managed to keep our relationship going long distance throughout my first year at Uni. It may have only been an hours drive between Solihull and Leicester, a distance I would consider a reasonable commute these days, but I didn’t drive and with work we only saw each other every few weeks and holidays. It was enough for me to miss out on many of those Freshers experiences, but I did so willingly.

At the end of the first year of Uni I got a job working in America for the summer. It was going to be tough being away from my boyfriend but I was really excited. My boyfriend was supportive (as the nice guy he was) but after I left he broke up with me. He said that I didn’t love him enough if I was prepared to go. I was in a place I didn’t know, lonely, and utterly devastated. It’s not a surprise that after a few short weeks I returned home. (Looking back I have no regrets in going and I got so much out of the short experience).

Over the next few years I made up for that year of fidelity. The number of men I flirted with during my remaining time at University was impressive. I had a couple of short relationships which were probably more due to wanting a relationship than the person involved being right for me. One was with a guy who compared his desire to have sex as the same as his interest in cleaning the bath. Turns out he was really in love with someone else. I hope she liked showers.

No Angel

At some point after University on a night I don’t really remember I met a guy who would consume me for a few years. He and I had that sort of heady relationship that I wanted in my 20s. It had all the extremes: full of laughter, excitement, tears and heartbreak. He was smooth and would keep pulling me back in when I got hurt. His memories of events never quite matched mine (some how in his memory he never did anything wrong). He told me how much he needed me, how we had this special connection, but he also wanted to be with other women. He was absolutely my weakness for years. The relationship was all consuming and intoxicating. He made me feel things that no one ever managed, but he broke me and hurt me in ways no one ever could either. I never knew when I would hear from him or what he was doing, so when he did get in touch I would drop everything to be there. Everyone told me I was making a mistake, but they didn’t understand our special bond. Or maybe they did.

I learnt a lot about what I really needed from a relationship from him and it’s no surprise that my next significant relationship was with someone calm and stable and loving. Reader I married him.

Divorce and Starting Again

Except that isn’t where my story ends because he and I got divorced a few years later. I was a woman who thought you should fight for a marriage and stay together no matter what when you had a child, but he and I stopped communicating. I was lonely and he was unable or unwilling to change. I gave up trying to fix things and then I met my knight.

Even as far back as my school days I had a dream. I dreamt of a boy (then a man) who would love me, but more than that he would protect me and look after me and make me stronger. I remember one day when I had been sent out of class to stand in the corridor for some reason. I was upset, but I closed my eyes and felt his arms around. It made me feel strong and secure. Disney and sanitised fairy tales may be to blame, but I wanted someone to rescue me, a prince on horse back, a knight in shining armour. 

It was Valentine’s Day six years ago when I couldn’t bare to go home straight from work. Valentine’s Day being one of those days that highlights all the things that are missing in your life when it comes to love. I asked a guy I kinda knew from the office to go for a drink delaying my return to what I expected to be an unmarked night at home with a man who previously had said why would he get me a Mother’s Day card (from our daughter), I’m not his mother. He was that thoughtful.

The drink invitation was innocent. I had no designs on this man. My marriage was in tatters but I wasn’t looking to cheat on my husband. As that one drink turned into two the man listened to me, he asked me questions and was interested in what I said. It was a long time since I had someone, a man, give me his full attention.

I returned home that night to a specially cooked meal and felt awful, but one meal does not fix a relationship and nothing really changed. In contrast I went out with my new friend on several more occasions. Each time the contrast with what I had at home grew greater. Yes I knew that this guy fancied me and I was flattered, I probably even took advantage of the fact. I enjoyed spending time with him, but I didn’t think of him in that way. I was still trying to mend my marriage, but now it was even harder because I had a man who showed me little attention, didn’t seem to fancy me (and had previously told me he didn’t find me attractive when I was pregnant, guys, never say that to your wife) yet would shower love on our daughter so was clearly capable of it. In contrast to a man who looked after me, was interested in me mentally and physically, made me feel good about myself and feel that I was worth something. Gradually over time I fell for this new man.

It felt like a long emotional journey from my marriage ending to G and I being together, but we made it. I had to choose between everything I knew, my child’s world and an unknown. But I came to realise that I couldn't change my husband. We had both tried, but sometimes you go past the point of no return. G was an unknown future, but one where I could see the potential for happiness.

We have been living together for five years now. I love him with my whole heart, I fancy him and he is my friend. I have no interest in even flirting with other guys, because G is enough.

Ok he annoys and frustrates me at times. I wish he would spend less time playing computer games, that he would remember to change Baby Boy’s nappy before it starts to leak and I would love to change his views on marriage. But his strength and reliability is one of the reasons I fell in love with him and I could list thousands of things I wouldn’t want to change.

Every one of those relationships I had has taught me what I need, it has taught me about myself and how to be a good girlfriend, how to make a relationship last. Every one has brought me to this place where I am happy and have three wonderful children and an amazing partner. A man who I know I will love to my end of days.

This is my love story.

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