How Many Times

How many times have you been in love?

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Too many times. Really, I mean that. I’ve been in love so much throughout the course of my life that I don’t even have a proper count. For me, love always comes with the added bonus of heartbreak. I already wrote about it to some extent in the posts On Being Single and Romance Bites.

My first loves were unrequited. I was in love with my best friend in high school, but while he considered me a great friend, it wasn’t reciprocal. Then, just to get it over with, I let some boys be in love with me. My first proper boyfriend was madly in love with me. I liked him, I was attracted to him, but I wasn’t in love.

My first real, honest to bog, head over heels, reciprocal love affair didn’t happen until I was 19. We were absolutely crazy about each other. We tore each other apart. We left each other sagging, incoherent messes. It took a while to rebuild ourselves. I haven’t really seen him since then because all of that is probably still in there somewhere. It is for me anyway. He is “the one” that I regret.

Love is brutal. It’s harmful and caustic and everything bad. It’s like an addiction; you know it’s bad for you, but you can’t help yourself. The upside is so far up that we are unable to see the truth. It takes us quite a while to see reality. When I do finally see reality, that’s usually when it ends.

Brain chemicals are awesome. There’s no better feeling than being in love. All of the problems in the world disappear and you walk through life with a little smile of shared conspiracy on your face. That little smile makes the world not only bearable, but awesome. You can take on anything. The problem is, that feeling is always temporary. Sometimes, it lasts longer than others, but that initial high always wears off. Occasionally, it will work itself into a deep, comfortable, abiding love, but most of the time, when it wears off, that’s the end of the line.

So, when you ask me how many times I’ve been in love, the answer is too many. I don’t regret any of it. I wouldn’t change my past, not even “the one”, even if I could. I wouldn’t trade a single moment of heartbreak because it is all mine. It is part of me. I earned it. It helps make up who I am. However, there are times when I crave that feeling again like a drug addict craves their drug of choice. There are times when I wonder just what the hell is wrong with me since I can’t maintain a relationship. There are times when I get the teensiest bit envious of friends who are in successful long-term relationships. When that happens, I force myself to remember the downfall. I force myself to remember the heartache and agony and all the tears that have ever been cried. What goes up must come down, and sometimes, you fall twice as far as you went up. It’s just the nature of things.

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