What Does Love Look Like?

This year I’ve not been blogging quite so much I’ve been busy falling in love and trying to find out what who I am as part of a “couple”. Falling in love is amazing isn’t it? Those butterflies that you get when you meet, the idea that anything is possible and that finally all your hopes and dreams have been realised. Right? Wrong! It’s like that for maybe the first wee while, and then the reality hits that we are all flawed and fundamentally love isn’t an object that just exists, but it’s more like a living thing that has to be nurtured, fed and watered in order to survive.

I’m pretty cynical when it comes to love. Perhaps being divorced before I was 26 and then being dumped, just before the bells on midnight, is enough to put any gal in a state of constant “when’s he leaving(ness)”. Although, bizarrely, I still have the child like notion that love comes on a white horse, sweeps you off your feet and suddenly you have someone in your life to put the bins out. Disclaimer: I have a lovely neighbour Martin who puts my bins oot, but yanno a girl would like her man to take a turn (my aim isn’t high).

We all want the instalove. Hand holding photos, cooked meals together, trips, with dirty faced but adorable moppets, to the seaside, Autumnal walks with the dog and all the other “ideas of love” which make it onto the gram. However the reality of falling in love in your thirties plus is pretty different. Lives are well and truly established, mixed families tend to create new boundaries, demanding careers are already firmly in place, parents are ageing and life is already so full that even getting five minutes to look at Instagram together seems like a treat, as for that autumnal walk in the woods? Send me a postcard.

Don’t get me wrong there are moments in my new found love life which have taken my breathe away. Trips to Milan, drives in the setting sun and dinners which would make your heart melt (food is clearly a big love thing for me). These moments are magical, but they’re fleeting and what I’ve learned is that romance is when two people find a way, within extraordinary pressure, to put the other first. Sometimes that love is uncomfortable, it doesn’t feel like the movies and you certainly might not think it’s worth writing home about; but for me that’s the real love. It takes a lot to tell those around you that life will change and that they will have to adjust to the “new version of you”. People find comfort in keeping you the way you are, because that makes them comfortable. Parents, friends, children; they all like us to be stagnant because it feels secure; but when we fall in love we have to be willing to shake up the playing field and change the rules.

It can be frightening, but people adjust. Eventually. I once told someone that taking care of someone when it’s easy is “nice”, but taking care of someone when everything is against you that’s “love”. For anyone who’s followed my social media for a while you know how much I advocate “reality”. I’ve written many a humours blog about dating and raising bratty (but beautiful) weans. So you will all know that all I’ve ever wanted was to find real love and have “family”. What I’m learning is that what love is, is slightly different to what I thought it would be.

Romance now is adjusting your work day to fit in a coffee. It’s telling others that your life has changed, and that while you still love them, they have to catch up. It’s sharing your cupboard space and giving up clean, seat down, loos. It’s making sure there is always “cola” available. It’s trying to understand when love can’t be there, even when you think it should. It’s learning to bend your own rigid life style. It’s taking yourself outside your comfortable box. It’s declaring to the world that “this person is mine” even if the world has something to say about it.

Who doesn’t want Paris and flowers? Diamond and holidays? Bags and shoes? Opened doors? Chairs pulled out? Actually????? I don’t think most people do. I think what we all want from love is very simple, well at least for me it is. It’s someone to come home to. It’s sacrificial. It’s someone who can weather a difficult journey. It’s someone who catches you when you fall. It’s someone who sees the best in you. The thing about Diamonds is that they can be lost, and flowers can die but respecting someone, adoring someone and treating them with a kind heart; well that never loses its shine.

My final, little but worthy, bit of wisdom is slightly selfish for a love blog. Love yourself. Imagine you’re the most amazing human being on the planet, then picture yourself as a little child sitting a lone, lonely on a step. Ask yourself “what kind of love would I expect for that beautiful little person?” I’m sure your answer would be, only the best. If we love ourselves enough to expect the best then we will be much more able to give that kind of love in return. You are already good enough, if you have children then you already have family – so the cake is already made, it’s just waiting for the cherry on the top. Love yourself and expect nothing less than butterflies.

I dedicate this to Peter. To our journey. To our good times, and our bad. To beating the odds together. To adjusting even when it’s hard. To Celino’s. To growing. To loving each other. Always.

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