I’ve been in three relationships my entire life. The first one being my high school sweetheart, who wasn’t a sweetheart at all. We were just two very young kids who did indeed love each other, but didn’t know how to do it properly. My next relationship three years later, although premature, was with who I thought was the one meant for me. Our relationship was magnetic from our first interaction. An unexplainable kind of chemistry that simply just fit and because of that I figured that’s how things should be when they’re meant to be. Because things felt so perfect, I loved him quickly and easily without hesitation and that wasn’t a mistake, but it also wasn’t enough to build a solid foundation that a relationship requires in order to last.
Before our relationship ended, I saw it coming but didn’t want to believe it to be true. As time went on his characteristics I hadn’t had the chance to familiarize myself with just yet had began to surface. All the while I was fighting it, I knew we wouldn’t remain. Not happily at least. If I “loved” this person, why was I miserable? I was stuck in a space where I loved someone dearly, but did not like who they were. I tried convincing myself we were experiencing a “rough patch” that all couples must hit and it was normal, until we hit a tipping point. When our relationship ended I was devastated – as I should’ve been, I loved him. But the fact of the matter is, there was so much I truly disliked about him.
I’m convinced that a genuine liking for someone is what breeds longevity. Love doesn’t take much logic or reasoning. When you love someone, you just do. And because we convince ourselves that we love people who aren’t good to or for us, we end up wanting to stick out relationships that aren’t healthy, beneficial or going anywhere. To truly like someone and what they’re about, is meaningful. I loved my ex before I even really knew him only to find out I didn’t like who he was or what he would bring out of me. Women especially seem to rush men by asking the “what are we doing?” question after a short while when in reality, you don’t even know if you like that man yet. I mean really like him and how he treats strangers, what his plans are for the future and how he reacts when he’s angry. Get to know who someone really is and determine if you even like them enough to be open to loving them.
The space in between those two relationships were a few years a piece, so naturally I dated; and with dating comes a lot of trial and error as well as a lot of enlightenment. Some of them made me face my flaws, while others highlighted the magic in me I didn’t always recognize. Some I pressed too quickly to turn into more and others had me looking for an escape. But if there was one thing that my last relationship had taught me, it was to make sure I liked someone before loving them.
Where I’m at in my life, like outweighs love. Actually, it’s easier to love someone than it is to like them. God tells us to love our neighbor, He doesn’t say we have to like them. You can love people from a distance. You can love your father you haven’t seen since you were a child or a friend who hurt you. Love doesn’t always require a relationship. But when it comes to liking someone, you want to be in their presence and share time with them. You care about everything that concerns them. You openly communicate with them to resolve misunderstandings with the same end goal in mind. It would be more of an accomplishment for me to be able to say I actually still like my husband after 10 years than to say I still love him. Like first, love last.