09.30.2017

The Benefit of Being Someone’s Second Love

second love

Natasha doesn’t say what she suspects. That meant to be doesn’t have to mean forever. They kiss, and kiss again. When they do finally pull apart, it’s with a new knowledge. They have a sense that the length of a day is mutable, and you can never see the end from the beginning. They have a sense that love changes all things all the time. That’s what love is for. – The Sun is Also a Star

My most-viewed blog post ever is one I wrote 3 years ago – The Difference Between First Love and True Love. For some people there is no difference; they end up with the people they were meant to be with forever on the first try. But as for the rest of us, we are someone’s second (or third, or fourth…) love. That doesn’t sound as magical to the true romantic in us all, but it is. It’s the perfect combination of magic and practicality.

My husband and I were talking about past relationships last week. Somehow in the past 5 years, I hadn’t thought to ask him if I was his first love! It was pretty obvious what the answer would be given that we met when he was almost 25, but I wanted to know for sure. He said no…and I was happy about this. It sounds weird, right? You would think a wife would want to be her husband’s first love, but I’m glad I’m not. I’m his second love and he is mine. It’s just one more thing that we share, and one more thing that makes our relationship even stronger. Here’s why being each other’s second love is the best:

It’s scarier in the beginning, but gets smoother with time – When I fell in love the first time, it wasn’t scary. The thought of it not working out didn’t even enter my mind. It was like “oh, I love you. This is it. I’m done.” In my mind, that was just the way it was. If you love someone, it will work. If you don’t, it won’t.

That wasn’t true. The more time passed, the more difficult and scary our relationship became. I knew exactly what was at stake and had a looming dread that it would all end terribly…and it did. First love is almost always followed by first heartbreak.

With second love, the opposite is true. Falling in love with Worsham was scary for me, and it had nothing to do with anything he did. He was, and still is, as close to perfect as they come. He was always patient with me. But I was so hurt by losing my first love that I couldn’t imagine having to go through losing someone again. I was afraid it would literally break me if we fell in love and it didn’t work out. I had to remind myself constantly that Worsham was nothing like my first love – that he wasn’t going to cheat on me, wasn’t going to lie to me, and wasn’t an asshole. My mind was super irrational for the first few months that we dated until he finally gained my trust. From then on, things were smooth sailing. Second love is like good wine – it just gets better and easier with time.

You appreciate each other more – Worsham has mentioned a few times that he was a terrible boyfriend before he met me. I still have trouble even fathoming this because he’s been nothing but absolute magic since we met, but he is still human. The great thing about second love is that you both already know what weaknesses you have in relationships and what mistakes you’ve made. If you’ve paid attention, you don’t make them again. That’s not to say you’ll be perfect, but at least you know what to expect the second time around because you’ve been here before. Your past hurt makes you less likely to take your partner for granted.

You don’t “complete” each other – “You complete me.” It’s a classic line, and it’s also an awful expectation of a relationship. Relationships don’t complete you – they enhance you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m obsessed with Worsham and love spending time with him, but he’s not my entire life and I’m not his. Looking back, one of the things I dislike most about my first love was how many things I missed out on. I didn’t hang out with my friends as much and didn’t even go on spring break my senior year. I knew he’d get jealous and at that time, I just wanted to Skype with him (we were long distance) and avoid any drama. That’s the scariest part of first love – how easy it is to lose your sense of identity to this person and not even care. With second love, you know not to do that and you have a much healthier relationship because of it.

You aren’t afraid to communicate – Is it just me or are first loves dramatic? My ex and I fought all. the. time. And I hate fighting! But man was he a pro at pissing me off. I tried to avoid conflict with him as best I could, and this usually resulted in me not communicating how I actually felt and just generally being a watered down/weaker version of myself. I didn’t like who I was with him. Being able to openly communicate with someone is the only way relationships work. I vowed to never walk on eggshells in a relationship again.

With second love, it’s much easier to be real with each other. You realize just how essential it is. It’s also what makes you BFFs with your partner. The freedom to say whatever you want only brings you closer (as long as you aren’t an asshole about it; being respectful is key). Even all these years later, Worsham and I still have yet to fight about anything.

So here’s to the second loves! It seems like that old “first is the worst, second is the best” rhyme is true after all.

What do you love about second love?

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