There are the guys who rush in and decide to fall in love, bam.

I’m not one to put the breaks on true love.

You never know, right?

So whoops, I did it again.

This one was quick. Two dates and he wanted to be exclusive, then he left for a trip and we had a horrible time staying in touch and he was unresponsive to my attempts to figure out a way to touch noses (he’d touch noses maybe, sometimes, but never was willing or able to provide a predictable format, which left me spinning) and if I paid attention he seemed to have a little temper and seemed to get surly and seemed to not be responsive to straight-forward communication, so I blew it up. By blow it up I mean I got serious about what I need (a short phone call, or a long one every day) and he decided after professing undying, unwavering love, that we weren’t right for each other.

But for a few weeks, I was taken and off the market and everything that that means.

People who are partnered up probably don’t remember that with the sense of complete freedom one has being single comes a little feeling of dangling out in the world. Being single means you are a tiny bit more exposed than your coupled up friends and suddenly not being single means that someone else has you covered, at least a little bit. The feeling of protection is immediate, and strong.

Phew, I can get on that ark now.

When you think about going car camping or seeing a concert, you’ve maybe got a person to do that with, built-in. When you come home at night, there is a person in the world who might care where you’ve been, what you are up to. And you get to think about them, in fact it’s now your job.images

You have a new future, one that includes someone else, and there is the promise of never feeling crushingly lonely at 2 am again.

If you are prone to waves of moody loneliness like I am, it can be a great thing to be suddenly paired up.  I haven’t decided if I am happier single or with someone. Overall, single, can be an exciting place to reside, but there are fits of loneliness and they are sad, teary places to have to navigate. Getting a rest from all that is most welcome, but long term……not so sure it’s worth exchanging the angst for security. The angst is a pretty alive place, too. The security can be numbing. Just ask the numbed out unhappies who tell you from their paired-up vantage how great it must be to be alone.

It is, and it isn’t – just like anything.

It isn’t worth coupledom if something isn’t right, so a quick jump in and then a “nope” isn’t a bad thing. It just means it wasn’t right. But for a few moments when think you’ve found it, you think you’ve found your person,  it is the squeee-est feeling in the world.

When you find your person it wipes away all the lonely angst.  For a usually short time (long, even forever if you are really lucky) your heart is full and you feel that everything happens for a reason, everything has lead up to meeting this person, and it all makes sense. The tears were worth it, because now you are in good hands, where you were meant to be. It’s magic.

But magic isn’t love.

Love is a curiosity about the other person, and a wish to know more. It means wanting to figure out how to make something work with another person who isn’t you, and showing that you are willing to listen hard because you aren’t them, and responding to that other person instead of your own tapes, because maybe the other person works differently (and you are ok with that). It means when they have feelings you lean in, because how they feel is important to you,  instead of ignoring or blocking or sticking your head in the sand. So if you meet someone and they say they love you but they aren’t responsive to you as a person, you gotta wonder what loves means to them. And if you are me, you gotta push a little and if your suspicion that they aren’t going to cradle your heart with care, openness and steady respect and concern is confirmed, you gotta turn around and walk away.

I was briefly swept off my feet. I got to hear those little murmurings and promises and feel the excitement of love on the horizon, then I got to feel that kick in the teeth and now I am getting to feel the dodged-a-bullet feeling of taking myself back from someone who was not going to work out. Someone who didn’t actually love me.

My head spun a little the first day on my own again, because that was the day, after weeks of being separated by his stuff and my stuff, that we were going to come together and instead of seeing him and getting to relax in a nice soft place, we were over and done. If I had been him, I would have still wanted to meet up, even for a post-mortem, because remember, this was LOVE, and love is a big thing, even if it is only love because you jumped the gun.

I would have been more careful and curious if I were him.

I would have understood that you claim someone through little acts of understanding and kindness, every day, and that if you don’t tuck in your partner, it is very hard for love to grow.

When a person has the courage to bring up something that they know they need early on, it is a great act of love for them to share that with you. It is a chance to get it right. So if you are someone who judges and can’t listen (because you are playing old tapes, or just too impatient) then you are missing something. You are missing, love.

Love is opening your heart to someone, and doing it fast or a little at a time is up to you. When you do it fast, you can get it wrong, but doing it slowly isn’t any more of a guarantee. But not opening your heart is certain failure.

I did it fast, and had to admit I was wrong really quickly, mid sentence.  I am only a little bruised, for the speed at which it occurred made serious injury not an issue.

I am only a little thrown off now and I’ve been very thrown off in the past, so this is nothing.

Only it is something. It is always something when you try and love someone. When you are given a gift, and it is taken away before you’ve had a chance to fully open it  and play a little, when you have to pry your fingers loose and realize that the gift was meant for someone else not you, you feel a little bit sad. Unless the gift was a letter bomb, then you thank the world for tipping you off, slam the box closed, and kiss the earth for keeping your heart alive another day.