Let’s start believing in forever love
How life showed me that true soulmates do exist

I know that forever love does exist and can be found. I know I can find a man to love and live with until we are parted by death.

How can I have so much faith in romantic love when my parents divorced and never talked to each other after that? How can I have so much faith when I have had more boyfriends that I can recall, and most of all when I am now a divorcee?

Because life showed me in an instant, a precious moment that is carved in my memory forever, that true love does exist…

My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer for many years. It was a long and slow disease.

Knowing that he was becoming a burden to others and losing his mind, after having had many children, a career and having been decorated by the king as a war hero and resistant, was very hurtful for the man sitting in his wheelchair at the dinner table, with people he would not always recognised.

He stopped remembering who we were and, as a young teen, it was very difficult for me to witness. My mum was very affected by his condition, as the whole family was.

My dad wasn’t around, because my parents had been divorced since I was 7 years old. I don’t recall seeing them speak to each other at all. They had a lot of hate and resentment for one another, but no explosions ever happen, just silent deafening hurts.

The love story of my parents affected me strongly.

I stopped believing in romantic love and became a rebellious and angry child. I hated everything romantic and cheesy; that was for stupid girls believing in love forever after.

I had countless boyfriends, one after the other, even sometimes more than one at once. Back then, it never occurred to me that I was trying to fill the void of an absent father.

I have been emotionally dependent all my life, thinking that it was love when actually, my boyfriends and I were not even good matches.

In reality, I was looking for love everywhere I could find it, even in the most improbable relationships.

Being now divorced, I have often thought “What’s wrong with me? I thought I had found the one to be with for the rest of my life.”

So, there I was, at the dinner table with family members, watching from a distant my grandfather coming in and out of his ever-worsening condition.

He stayed at home and my grandma looked after him with the help of a nurse. Yes, at times we could see that it was very hard for her. His condition was testing her patience and her dedication to being there for him until the end.

But she was there, always… She found in herself the strength and the love needed to stay by his side and care for him, doing what she could to give him some comfort during all those years of disease.

I remember that, when I was married, I couldn’t stand seeing my ex-husband unwell.

He wasn’t that bad with the ‘man flu’ though… I mean, looking back, he was pretty all right. I just didn’t have any patience with him, I didn’t really want to give him some caring love and affection.

I remembered how my grandmother had been there for my grandfather, in health and sickness…

This is when I actually realised how wrong my reaction was to my husband when he was unwell.

I asked myself the question: “If he ever gets sick, like really sick; or has a bad accident that leaves him seriously dependant on me; could I ever be there for him and look after him to the best of my abilities?”

And the answer was very clear: “No freaking way!”

Well, that was a pretty intense light bulb for me.

Maybe, we were not meant to be together.

I mean, one of the foundations of a long lasting and happy relationship is wanting to grow old with the loved one, isn’t it?

We know that life might bring huge challenges along the way, but as long as we are a loving team, we will feel that life will be easier, somehow.

For me that was the opposite. I couldn’t stand the thoughts of growing old with him and see his weaknesses and his need for my caring love and affection when I had none.

I knew he deserved better than a non-loving and non-caring wife. He was — and still is — an amazing human being that deserves all the love and happiness in the world.

I knew I was capable of being caring and loving because of my children.

To this day, it is a certainty that, no matter what happens, I will love them and care for them if they need me.

Yes, it is a different kind of relationship.

Mother and daughters have a very special bond that is completely different from husband and wife; but feeling this power to deeply care for another human being with love told me that this quality is definitely present within me.

I just have to find a better half to give it to.

My grandmother did… She had her better half.

Their relationship went through so much. The war, the loss of three babies, raising 5 children together, losing their home, then all the rest that life just throughs at people, and then my grandfather’s disease.

I believe in love because of them.

It only takes one example to proof that something can exist.

They did that for me and to this day, my grandmother still does it. She still talks with so much love and affection about ‘her Adrien’, who passed 23 years ago now.

So, do you know what happened and that changed me forever because I learnt in 30 seconds that true love between two human beings is possible?

One day, I was sitting in the lounge with my grandfather. He was absent in his own world. I was uncomfortable and didn’t really know what to do, how to sit — did I have to make conversation with him?

Then, my grandmother walked into the room…

He straightened himself up on his wheelchair, and the biggest smile I had ever seen instantly came on his face. His eyes were sparkling and his whole-body language showed how much this woman makes him feel. He was like a fresh young man seeing his girl, thinking she’s the most gorgeous woman on the planet.

It was intense, beautiful, palpable.

My grandmother saw him looking at her this way and she giggled only very shyly, then came to him with sparkling eyes and kissed his forehead tenderly. They looked at each other and I was frozen in a moment of total awe.

I had seen it… true forever love…

It was the first time. And the most beautiful time ever.

My grand-parents healed my lack of faith in love in 30 seconds and gave me another precious gift: the knowledge that I too, would be able to know love because two human beings were really capable of loving each other unconditionally, in sickness and until death parts them.

I mean, after 23 years without the love of your life, to talk about him with such fondness, such pride and affection… well, it is something, isn’t it?!

Nearly three years after separating, I am very happy that my ex and I are now good friends and parents to our two daughters. He has an amazing partner and they are going to have their baby boy in a couple of months. They bought a house and live a life that seems to give him what he needs.

I am so very happy for him. There is still some kind of love between us but it has transformed… It is respect and admiration for the father of my children that I now feel for him.

On my side, after countless flirts and some short dysfunctional relationships, I have eventually met a man I feel I might want to learn to love unconditionally.

Time will tell…

I have worked so much on myself in the last three years that I have had a lot of light bulbs about why I was getting into relationships with guys that weren’t really good matches.

The 30 seconds lesson of true love that my grandparents showed me that day made my heart believe in true love, but I had a very long journey ahead of me in learning what it means in real life.

I learnt so much that I realised I was saying ‘I love you’ way too quickly because I needed comfort and intimacy; not because I was actually in love.

To this day, I am still taking my time with my new man. I am loving it. I am discovering his personality and his life, his dreams and his challenges. It is like opening a new present every time I see him. There is always a surprise and it is always a good one.

I keep the three precious words aside still, as I now know that I will only say it to the man I feel I want to be there for if he’s got the ‘man flu’ or an actual serious condition that would require my caring love, patience and acceptance.

I know I have everything within me… I am learning to give unconditionally but with patience and time. I am learning to ask for what I need too… like today, an actual date for Valentine’s Day, because I now accept the fact that deep down, I am a true romantic.

The rebellious angry girl is gone because the gift of true love given by her grandparents has finally matured and opened her heart up.