People who have never been in love think that love is easy and effortless. They think that being in love means that no one fights or that you agree on everything. As I’ve learned, that’s not how love goes though. It’s messy and convoluted. In the past when you thought you were in love, you just gave up.
But you were never really in love until you met them. They didn’t save you, but they helped you make yourself better. They aren’t your first love, but they are the first real thing in your life. The love you felt before made you hold your breath and wait until something went wrong.
But with them, you exhaled and you haven’t stopped to hold your breath. You’re no longer scared.
Love isn’t agonizing over if they’ll notice you or if they are going to text you back. It’s knowing that even if they don’t text you good morning or good night every day when they're away, you’re still on their mind.
You no longer need constant reassurance that you mean something to them because you have begun to believe that you are important to someone.
Love isn’t pretending you like everything that they like. Tell them that you don’t like comedies, but still watch them because they love it. You might even start loving funny things again because you love their laugh. Telling them that you have different tastes in music will not be the end of the world, you can take turns choosing music in the car. They'll think it's funny when you don't realize they've played the same song four times in a row because you thought it was just a really long song.
Love isn’t worrying every time they talk to someone else because you have finally grown comfortable with the person you’re with. You no longer have to worry that their next words to you will be, “But you’re not her.” They tell you that no one will compare to you. Love is having someone tell you with complete confidence that they want to spend the rest of their life with you and you no longer believe it’s an impossible fantasy.
Love is talking about your futures together. They might have unrealistic expectations for your house together (who honestly needs eight closets outside of the bedrooms?). But you agree on some things, like the number of bathrooms, and a compromise is born. You agree on baby names that you both love and both hate.
You give up on your favorite name because it reminds them of someone terrible, so you don't mind.
Love isn’t keeping all your wounds to yourself. They get you to open up and you tell them things you’ve always hidden for fear of being left behind. They make you feel safe and secure with them. Love is knowing that even if they leave, they won't be gone for long.
What you have is too real to be abandoned.
Love is complaining when they don’t help you as much as you help them. That sounds like it’s not love, but it’s the purest kind. You’re helping them become a better person. You make sure that your needs are being met and they will love you more for that. You think they're less selfish because of you.
You find it endearing that their biggest flaw is they won't pick up dinner.
Love is them holding your hand when you’re walking home even though they're uncomfortable with it. It’s you letting go and not pushing it because you don’t want them to feel uncomfortable.
Holding hands doesn’t signify love, but the fact that you both want to sacrifice something for the situation is love.
Love is so much more than any of that. Love is more than feeling a strange hole when you haven't talked to them in a while. It's more than them encouraging you to buy a shirt at Target because they think you look beautiful. It's more than buying peanut M&Ms every time you go to the store to surprise them. It's more than them knowing something in a movie or TV show is bothering you and holding your hand.
Love is more than them having a picture of you up in their room.
Falling in love with them was easy, but love is hard. It’s a constant battle but love, just like life, isn’t easy. You hold each other and it’s love. You sit in bed together not talking and it’s love. You visit them at 4 am at their job and it’s love. They eat at your work just to see you and walk home with you and it’s love. You support each other's decisions, good or bad. Love is what you do together. Love is what you do for each other.
This is love.