Sitting in your middle school science class at age 12, a new student walks in with curly brown hair, emerald eyes, and two perfectly placed neck moles - your heart skips a beat. Going forward every time your young eyes meet butterflies flutter around in your stomach. But what are these butterflies? Do they represent love?
At the time, I truly believed that I was in love with that goofy brown-haired kid and we barely spoke. Those reading obviously know that my little middle crush was most likely not going to be the love of my life. Looking back, I am not convinced that the butterflies I felt were signals telling me I was in love. Having butterflies is simply a romanticized saying for anxiety. Butterflies happen out of uncertainty. I would get butterflies when I see crushes because I had no idea how they felt about me or if they even noticed me. An act of kindness whether that be a smile or lending a pencil would generate a rush of flitters. It was unexpected and exciting because who knows the next time my crush would approach me.
In high school, I fell "in love" with the most beautiful girl in my literature class. We dated for a bit; however, I was always feeling butterflies (more than first date jitters). She was this enigma that I could never solve. I lacked security in the relationship because she never expressed her feelings nor gave me the opportunity to truly understand her. Spoiler alert...she broke my heart...big time. Perhaps if I had known that those butterflies weren't a clever, positive sign from my heart, but rather a physical sign from my anxious brain, I would have saved a lot of money on pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Over the years I have been a part of numerous types of relationships. From men to women and everyone in between, from positive to abusive, from casual to serious, I have seen it all. The more I learn and grow, the more thankful I have become to have lost those butterflies in steady relationships. As crazy as it may sound - I do not think two people in a consenting, healthy, loving relationship should ever experience butterflies.
My partner, J, and I have been together for over a year now: I don't get butterflies when I am with him. With J I don't have those moments of uncertainty nor do I have to wonder which version of love I will receive that day. Unlike previous relationships, I don't have to buckle my seatbelt with crossed fingers praying that this week the roller coaster is on an upswing. J is my home, my security, my calm, and the partners you share your life with should be the same.