I absolutely love falling in love. (And, as my mom will tell you, I adore being a bride! When we go thrift-shopping, I’m immediately lured by the wedding dresses and always want to buy one)! You know that ‘new love’ feeling…the butterflies and breathlessness…the constant anticipation of when you’ll see them again. I have students who will kiss outside my classroom door and say how much they’ll miss one another…and my class is only 50 minutes long! But, to people ‘in love’, that can feel like hours.
However, I’m starting to re-think this whole ‘falling in love’ thing. I believe that we actually ‘fall in lust’…and the hormones and neurotransmitters involved (adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin) use their power to bring us together so we can build a true, mature love as we learn about one another.
How many times have you heard the phrase: “I love you…I’m just not IN love with you.” I think that’s hogwash (I’ve always wanted to use that particular word in conversation and now I have!). What that phrase is really saying is this: “I don’t feel the same amount of lust I did when I first met you, and I’m really not wanting to take the time and effort needed to build a lasting, trusting, respectful love.” How sad. For both people involved.
I also believe some people get addicted to this lustful feeling…after all, these feel good neurotransmitters are present when taking drugs…a high is a high. And, this happens to be a high that can last up to 2 years! After that? “I’m not in love with you anymore…it’s just not the same.” Duh! It’s going to be that way in every relationship. Not that a mature, loving relationship can’t or doesn’t have passion. Not at all! But passion is an emotional, intense feeling you focus on another person, while lust is more of a craving whose primary focus is on self-pleasure. See the difference?
I want the butterflies…and the rumbly tummy…and the stars in my eyes. But more so, I someday want a partner who will learn with me, trust me, respect me and be a presence through all of the good and all of the bad. And I want them, in turn, to earn my trust and respect, and know I will be there for them as well. And if that trust gets broken? Then I want that partner to understand the work it will take to build it up again, and also be respectful of the feelings brought about by that particular breach.
And to be honest with you, I thought I had found that in hubby 3. I sincerely loved my other hubbies (just call me Elizabeth Taylor), but #3 was my passion. When we first started seeing each other, I thought I’d absolutely die if I couldn’t be with him everyday. And that feeling lasted for a long time. Our first couple of years were passionate, but also tough, and at times, I wanted out. Badly. But hubby truly worked on our relationship…he read articles, he listened, and when he said he would stop doing something hurtful, he did. And I did the same.
Last Thursday, our divorce was finalized. I’d never been to court for this…my lawyer would take my place. But we decided to go together because we still love each other. We walked into the courtroom hand-in-hand and sat by each other, waiting for our turn. When we approached the judge, we were still holding hands and when I was questioned by the lawyer, I cried. Tears streamed down my face. And his. After I got off the stand, he stood up, gave me some tissues, and dabbed at my tears. After the judgment was made, we walked out hugging each other, and a woman, who had been in the courtroom during this asked us why we had gotten divorced if it was so hard on us both.
Here’s the answer. Hubby 3 and I live in different worlds. Literally. He was raised by a biker and is a member of a notorious biker club. He wasn’t when we married, but joined a few years into the marriage. This environment is completely foreign to me…and even scary at times. As he became more involved in the club, he was away from me more and more. This hurt our marriage…but not our love. I asked him to quit the club when we were having our problems at the end. And he said he couldn’t. I was pissed at first! I felt like he chose a club over me. But then I finally understood. Hubby is basically alone in this world, and these men are his brothers. Men he has known most of his life. Men he can relate too. Men he can be himself around. It’s as much a family as is blood, and he just feels more comfortable in that particular environment.
You know, I’m proud of the way hubby and I handled this divorce. I hate how people can have so much love for each other, and then be so hateful at the end. I know certain circumstances affect that…in cases of abuse, infidelity, addiction, etc., and I couldn’t have done this with my first 2 divorces. I wanted too, but my other hubbies didn’t. I think it’s because my mom and dad divorced so well. They have remained friends all of these years, and always come to events and holidays. They’ve been divorced for over 30 years, but are still friends. What a great example for me.
We put so much time into starting our relationships. I remember being at hubby’s house one day, and we literally laid on his bed and looked into each others eyes for hours. Cheesy!! But it was the beginning of our love and we couldn’t get enough of one another. Throughout our marriage, we raised 2 teenagers together…watched his parents die…went through times of unemployment…times of sickness, etc. If we can get through all of that together, how can we not end it together too? Put time into getting past the hurts and move towards understanding and forgiveness? Don’t we owe that to one another as well? Hmmm…
But does it really ever end? Any relationship? Don’t we take something from each one? Maybe something good…maybe something bad…maybe just a lesson? Each relationship changes us. Affects us. That’s why they are called our exes. We are ‘without’ them now, but we can’t erase them. No matter how hard we might want too.
And I don’t want to erase hubby. Never. He’s a good man. A kind man. A funny man. A smart man. I’m proud of the 11 years we had together, and we’ll always be in each others lives. He asked me to marry him the other day. Really. I laughed and asked if he was kidding, and he said he wasn’t sure! Maybe we’ll end up together…growing old like I had envisioned. Or maybe we’ll just be best friends, sharing our lives with one another and hanging on to each other when we need too.
All I know is this. I loved him at the beginning. And I love him now. It’s not the end. It’s just going to be a new chapter in our book that has already been started.
Prof K ❤