Rewriting My Love Stories

First published on Rebelle Society.

I used to say that up until now I had lived to experience two great loves.

I would look back fondly, reminiscing about how deep the feelings, how ridiculous the love, and painful the break-ups had been. I had felt something so powerful, so real and intense, or so I would tell myself.

This was the story I had constructed over time, and I wore those so-called great loves like badges on my sleeve, grateful for having loved at all.

I found myself thinking back to those two great loves this week, as I nursed a broken heart from yet another emotionally unavailable man.

Why had I immortalized my time with them as being so wondrous and above all others? Were they better, healthier relationships? Was theirs a kinder, more respectful love? Truly a greater love worthy of the title?

No.

In fact, these two great loves of mine were the most painful relationships and the source of my greatest heartbreaks. They were with men who gave enough of their hearts that I mistook their little gifts of attention, texts and kisses for love.

I thought, because I had opened my heart to them, that they were doing the same.

But they were faking intimacy, and before long, their gifts crumbled, leaving me holding my heart in my hands, trying desperately to keep the pieces from falling to the floor.

Looking back, I mistook the intensity of the break-ups as a measurement of the depth of love in the relationships. I mean, they hurt so much when they ended, didn’t that mean they mattered more?

Not exactly.

I realize now the reason for the pain was because I had given my heart to men who had given to me what looked like their hearts, but were really only small fragments.

Just enough to get in, but not enough to stay.

I thought about what it would be like to literally throw myself into a fire, burning until near death, jumping out just in time, recovering and then proclaiming, “That was the best experience of my life!”

I would hurt, recover over time and be left with horrible scars.

Had I not been doing the same in a sense, to my heart, with these men?

I went on to recall two other men from my past who had loved me. The men whose hearts were not a mess of tangled cords tied up with another’s heart. Whose hearts were beating free and open.

I gave my heart to these men, and they reciprocated in a fair and loving exchange. And although they were not perfect (neither was I!) and our ending not as dramatic, the love was good, the intimacy real.

They didn’t leave scars.

That’s when I decided to rewrite my love stories. These two men, the ones who loved me would be my two great loves now. And the others would be my lessons.

Experiences I’ve had along the way that have taught me that my heart is valuable and worth protecting from those who offer mere pieces of themselves, but worth giving away to the loving, the courageous, the ones who play fair.

The great loves.