I was listening to Dionne Warwick's title song "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again" today and it made me reflect on my own life.
I have truly loved only a few women in my life. Starting from the very first and all the way to the last, my ability to love has changed so dramatically, that looking back at my life, I don't think I could ever love that same way ever again.
I remember my first girlfriend. I remember seeing her for the first time as she walked by me in a red dress on a Saturday afternoon in Ottawa. I was smitten right away. I told a buddy of mine, "I love that girl. She's going to be my girlfriend, you just wait and see"... I was with her from just after my 17th birthday till I was 25 years old. 8 years, and I loved that girl so...
I loved her in silly stupid ways. I did "stupid boy" things to get her attention. -I embarrassed her every time I could when people were around so that she knew I liked her. I collected pictures and anything she sent me, I put up on a wall in my bedroom, which after a while became like a Shrine to her after we were going out for a while. I wrote her ridiculously long letters and called her all the time just to hear her voice. When I wasn't with her, I was constantly thinking of being with her, and everything I thought about her made me smile. She inspired me, and I was so attracted to her. The first time we were together was like a memory that will be forever etched in my mind and it was beautiful in every way.
However, that love could only last a certain amount of time, and as we both got older and became adults, I became a real asshole chasing my boyhood dream of being a businessman. I got pulled into the corporate world and I took the love of a great woman and threw it away to be a selfish, cocky kid. When we broke up, I took a year away from dating other girls and I did a lot of travelling to Europe and tried to "Find" myself.
About a year later, I found my second love, whom I would eventually marry. I met her one night in late November through a friend, and we were engaged to be married on the day after Christmas, some 30 days later. I fell immediately in love with her, and it was complicated because she lived in California and I lived here in Toronto. But we loved each other so much that we were determined to make it work, and we were married 6 months later.
However, I had learned from loving my childhood girlfriend that my love in this new relationship would never be the same way. I'm quite sure my wife wondered if I loved her as much as I loved my girlfriend, and when she asked me, I would always respond, "well, I married you, didn't I?"
But the thing was, I loved them differently. I loved them both, but it was in very different ways. But I think people's egos and feelings get threatened by previous loves, and so they want to be reassured that they are loved more than their predecessor. And to be fair, I couldn't allow myself to be a young kid and do the things that young love did now that I was a husband in my mid 20's trying to build for his family. So I loved my wife in a very adult manner and stopped being a kid in puppy love. The small things I did in my first relationship, I couldn't bring myself to do in my marriage because I thought I was above such silly things. My endearments were less spontaneous and thoughtful and much more calculated and calloused.
That relationship lasted 7 years. We eventually grew apart, and lost the love that was between us. The relationship just became too hard for both of us, and so we agreed to part ways and allow each other the happiness that might be out there in the form of someone else. It was a very adult and logical decision, but it was about to force me to love a TOTALLY different way in my next relationship, regardless of who was going to be in it.
I was very bitter coming out of my marriage and I practically doomed myself to fail in love again because I was so jaded by love. I knew that even if I found the right girl, I would be in the wrong frame of mind to be able to fully love again, and that is exactly what happened. I was my own worst enemy at this stage of my life and I did think I found love, only to have it thrown back in my face. I was a moron who didn't want to love with his whole heart, and I was carrying around way too much baggage. The thing is, I knew it and still couldn't stop myself from being this way. All my friends even tried to help me out, but I wouldn't respond. I had a chance at love, being as rare as it is, and I did everything to sabotage myself because I would'nt let myself love this way again.
Well, this ruined me.
I was a miserable person for many years after that, and although I had managed to still be "Me" and enjoy my life, I was still looking for the chance at love again. -And this time, I was going to love her like I was meant to love that someone special.
But it's funny how each time someone new comes into your life, we make THEM pay for our past mistakes, isn't it? We carry all our past issues and experiences with us, and then unload that on our new loves unintentionally trying to hide our own insecurities. We are scared that if they find out who we "really" are, that they won't love us for who we are and so we create a facade to look brave behind.
When we are hurt, we don't let them know why. When they do something that has been a sore point to us because of a previous relationship experience, it is our partner that pays for this, not us. We thrust it on them as if they should've known better.
And that's not fair is it?
But I guarantee you that we've ALL done this in some manner or another. All because we are too afraid to admit that we are human, we are jaded, we are scared of not being loved, and that we don't want anyone to know about it.
But in the end, these insecurities become our downfall, don't they? This ruins the relationship and the love that has been magically created between us. When jealousy and insecurity start rearing their ugly head into the equation, it will just be a matter of time until it ruins the relationship.
Looking back at these moments in my life now, I can honestly say I know I will never love this way again. -It's not just the title of a song, it describes how each of us loves differently in every relationship of our lives.
I imagine that at the end of my life, I will love totally different than I do now. My priorities will change as life progresses, and what used to bother me before isn't really an issue with me anymore. I matured and understood more about how people work and realized that it's not them trying to hurt me, it's more about how they are trying to make themselves happy, and that may not be the same with how I need to be loved.
But through this whole process, I can look back and see how I loved each woman in different ways because that was the way I thought I was able to love. I didn't love any one woman more or less than the others, I loved them each differently, and in different times of my life. These experiences lead me to the next love, and it was up to me to see what I learned from the previous relationship.
And now? I think that I will never love like that teenage boy who was giddy with my first touch of love, nor will I love like the responsible adult with calculated romance that all men seem to have the knack for. I think I will just be me and love like my heart tells me to, and not make my partner pay for the sins of my previous relationships. That's not fair to her or me.
And moving forward, I think that's all you can ask. -Just be to be fair, and to love without fear...