Affairs of the heart...

I have been in love three times in my life, not the "you make my heart flutter" love, but the real kind, the kind you want to make long term plans with. My first true love was when I was 19 and I met my ex-husband. I was in college, I was his orientation leader, and the rest is history. Ours was a tumultuous relationship, two strong willed people thinking that they knew how to negotiate marriage. When my parents suggested that we wait awhile to get married, I actually moved the wedding up. I laugh at my stubbornness  now, but that's who I was (and sometimes still am.) We were friends and we grew up together in those years of marriage. We have a beautiful daughter together. When we split it was not in a time of fighting or anger. As a matter of fact, there was a calm kind of rhythm that had fallen over our lives. The one thing that was clear is that we were not growing in the same direction. In order for our life together to survive, one of us was going to have to give up on their dreams. I knew that person was going to be me. He was a good man, but not the man I was going to grow old with. Sometimes relationships are ones that grow and change while others don't. I am not one who married thinking I was going to get a divorce, but as I look at it now, we are not even compatible. He is happy and so am I, but that time together made me realize what I wanted and needed in a relationship. I hope that it was the same for him. Now we can be adults in our own lives. I don't regret for a minute the years we we had together.

My second true love came from an unexpected place. He was my neighbor. We were both married when we met. We were all friends. Then my husband and I split. He moved away and came back a year later. We began dating, then he went back to his wife (on my birthday I might add!), then another six months later, he came back again, this time for good. He was the first man that I truly felt loved me for me. He loved my daughter, he made me feel beautiful. Being with him made my heart soar. I couldn't believe that such a beautiful man (both physically and spiritually) could love me. We were together for about a year and then we split (sort of) and dated off and on for the next six months. I had never really come to terms with my split from my ex and a variety of other things and I decided to move back home. I needed help with my daughter and help with my life. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and I needed my parents to help me navigate the storm. I spent one last night with my love and left. When I returned home, he called me once. I was not in a good space and told him I was starting over. I wanted him to tell me he was coming, but he never did. Years later, with the inception of Facebook, we reconnected. I found out he went to college 45 minutes from my house and he didn't even know I was so close. He had never stopped looking for me. By then my life had started over...I was healthy and had moved forward, but this man will forever hold a piece of my heart. He was the one that set me up for my last love.

My last true love is my husband. This man has provided me with stability and love. Our life has not been perfect, but our commitment to one another has been unwavering. We have raised three children together and continue on Javad's journey. We have survived a divorce, custody battle, drug use by one of our children, the birth of a medically fragile child, and a variety of other things. Our relationship has been pushed, pulled, stretched and sometimes just run over. There have been years when we were madly in love and years that we barely spoke. There were even years that the only reason we stayed together is because of the future we saw together rather than the present that we were experiencing. Love is a crazy thing because your previous life prepares you for your present life. My first love helped me figure out what I really wanted in my life, stability, while my second love showed me that I was worth loving and deserved to be loved and cherished. Each of these prepared me for my husband. I am lucky. Some never experience true love in their lifetime and I have had it three times. I consider that a gift...one who has made me who I am today...

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