I strongly believe that everyone has three loves in their lifetime. They don’t always happen in order, and sometimes they are a jumbled mess, but there are three distinct types of love we experience in our lives. They happen because we grow throughout our lives and become different versions of ourselves, better versions of ourselves as time goes on. These three loves…they can all happen with the same person if you’re with him/her long enough. But for most, it happens with three different people, because most importantly, you’re three different people at these different moments in time as you grow and change.

The First Love – Lust

This is the youngest love. You’re fresh and new and everything is exciting. You’re following your heart and body over your mind. It doesn’t matter that all the jagged edges don’t fit perfectly right, or that there are red flags you shouldn’t ignore. Love conquers all. Love will triumph over all those hardships and potential pitfalls.

Right? Wrong.

But that’s what you tell yourself for now as you fall in the deepest love you’ll ever feel. The heart-breaking-aching-deep-in-your-chest type of love that tears you open at the sight of each other kind of love. Everything is passion and lust and sex and desire and you’ve never felt so wanted, or wanted so much before in your life. This is what true love feels like. This is what soulmates feels like.

This is what infatuation feels like. This is what the high before the fall feels like. Because there will be a fall. There will be a fall so hard, so far that you will feel like your heart was shattered into a million pieces. Passion doesn’t just live in our happiness, but it lives in our grief, too.

You’ll walk away from this love sore and in pieces, holding yourself together with tiny pieces of tape and old slathers of glue, gasping for air because you’re drowning. And then you’ll meet the one who teaches you how to breathe…

The Second Love – Pain

Falling in love with your second love is like figuring out how to be whole again. That love will revive the broken pieces of yourself and remind you what it feels like to be loved, to love, to live, to laugh, to face the world everyday with a partner by your side. This love will teach you who you are. You’ll learn about yourself. You’ll grow as a person and find yourself in your partner’s eyes. They’ll lift you up and give you the freedom to become the person you were always meant to be. You’ll grow wings and fly…

and then they’ll clip them.

And you’ll come tumbling down to the ground. You’ll crash and burn. But you won’t give up. You’re in love. You’ll fight for that love. You’ll get up, dust yourself off, and soar through the skies again. But you’ll crash…again. And again. And again. It’ll be a cycle–love and pain. You’ll soon forget that love doesn’t require pain, too. The two will be so blended for you that you’ll expect them together like a dose of medication you never needed.

You’ll keep fighting. You’re in love. But they will break you down until there’s nothing left to fight for. You will have nothing left to give. There aren’t even broken pieces left to carry away–there’s just nothing. And you’ll walk away empty-handed and empty-hearted.

The Third Love – Forever

Then you’ll meet the third love and you’ll turn away from them because you have nothing to offer them. But they won’t care. They’ll want you for you, and they’ll see past the scars and the pain and the tangled mess the other loves left behind. They’ll see what you can’t and they’ll remind you what was once there and what can be there again. They’ll remind you who you are.

It’ll be so easy, so effortless, so full of peace that you won’t trust it. Your scars remind you that pain is always lurking around the corner, but this time it never comes. You wait for it, brace yourself for it’s impact, but all you feel is love and acceptance. It reminds you that you can stand on your own. It empowers you, gives you confidence, pushes you to do more, be more, want more.

And then you start to let those shields down.

Walls crumble. Defenses fade, and you’re left trusting that this is real. This is forever. This isn’t lust, it isn’t pain, it isn’t any love you’ve felt before. This is comfortable. It’s genuine. It’s pure and happy and real. This is what love should have been like all along, but you weren’t ready until now.

And here you are–ready. And here he is–ready.

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