He thought he was the only guy who went through these phases of falling in love, but found out he’s in good company.
“I love you.” Haven’t heard those words in, well, a very long time. Oh sure, I hear it daily in this adopted new-aged side of life where love reigns and we’re all acting like the universe is dispensing happy pills. Seems to be the cool thing to do these days. I get it and ride that train often.
Last time I said it, I found myself on a roller coaster of emotions that didn’t make sense, abandoned all logic, and challenged everything I previously learned of healthy enlightenment.
But, “I love you”—the kind of I-love-you-bomb that leaves you speechless. The kind where your eyes meet and the words are spoken, forever changing the energy of the relationship, the kind where you end and the other person begins, commingled in this emotion soup of weirdness. You know the kind, it’s awkward and you both collapse in mutual agreement to the oxygen-filled ether that intoxicates before collapsing in unison to this new found love.
Then it gets awkward even more. What do you do next? What do these words mean and what’s expected of you now? The relationship has changed, evolving into something else entirely like the intoxication of the martini the night before, you awaken to the regret, grasping for liters of water and ready-made ibuprofen to numb the ache of your decision.
What now? Last time I said it, I found myself on a roller coaster of emotions that didn’t make sense, abandoned all logic, and challenged everything I previously learned of healthy enlightenment. Funny, after all the consumption of self-help books on love, after all the theories about codependency, self-care and enmeshment and, and, and … it all goes out the window around this girl.
So here I am, in this world once again in love and rapidly progressing through three distinct stages.
Stage 1: Excitement
The raw and unadulterated thrill-ride kinda joy. The kind that makes you feel like you’re understood and known for the first time in your life and now can live free. Like seeing the deepest blue colors of the warm Caribbean, I charged the waves and was fully consumed in this new experience. Everything was fun and new. We danced, we laughed, and we traveled. We were inseparable and life was good, very good. I read her poetry, I held her hand on long walks, I made her dinner and we were both completely caught in the moment. I moved her hair from her face to reveal her smile, an accepting smile that was always present. Ya, we were sticky in love.
“Is this real?” That was the question I mistakenly asked myself that catapulted me into the next stage.
Stage 2: Fear
I panicked and withdrew. She called me, I didn’t call back. She texted me, I gave a short reply. I did the bare minimum to keep her engaged, yet keep me safe—in my fear. Uncertain what I was actually scared of, maybe it was a commitment or that my own illusions of freedom were going to disappear or that I was closing doors to other women, women that could be more suited for me. I ran the gamut of emotional questioning of why I felt the way I did yet was caught in a self-induced web of confliction from missing her. I missed her scent. If beauty had a fragrance, it was her. Like taking all the senses and blending them into one sensation, this girl terrified me as all my vulnerabilities were exposed.
Damn, you can finally admit you’re a guy in love; you talk about your feelings and proudly change your Facebook status, swearing off all others.
Then, in the middle of the night, fraught with despair, I just surrendered. The fear of losing this love was worse than these insecurities so I took a deep breath and gently moved to stage three.
Stage 3: Acceptance
I finally settled in. Damn, you can finally admit you’re a guy in love; you talk about your feelings and proudly change your Facebook status, swearing off all others. I became okay with my feelings, I accepted the ups and downs, learned how to communicate my thoughts and shared openly and together we regularly stepped into stage one, creating excitement for us both.