Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Real Love, not Perfect Love

I don't know about 'most folk' (whoever the heck they are ...) but my life's experiences of love and relationships, thus far, hasn't exactly been text book.

But then, there isn't a text book hey? I guess that's the point. But like a lot of young teenage girls all I knew about love at a young age was romantic fairy tales and rescued princesses. Real life can hit a bit hard after that.

If I ever have a daughter I will try and teach her to be strong, independent and in control of her life and body. I'll also tell her to expect to kiss a lot of frogs, maybe even marry one or two, before she finds her Prince. Nay, King. And when she finds him, don't expect a Perfect Love. Instead, look for a real love. Keeping it REAL people.

I remember my first experiences from the age of about 12 or 13, lots of snogging competitions (who can go on the longest without coming up for air) and all the usual teen exploratory stuff but I didn't even consider a relationship or anything like one until I was well into my thirties. I held on to my virginity until I was 18 and my solemn belief in 'true love' gave me an inner strength to hang on in there for the real thing.

And hang on I did.

I dated, I met lots of people, but I never felt truly in love and I never felt, right up until I met Hubby at 36, that I wanted to live with anyone or commit to a life long relationship. Children? I still felt like I was one myself.

But then I learnt, in all those dating years, that there is no such thing as a Perfect Love. How could there be? Everyone's dream of love or interpretation of that dream is different.

But I imagined at first in my youthful innocence that I would be wooed, won over by the Romeo antics of some poor young lad who'd fall for me. I couldn't understand why my playing it cool and disinterested wasn't bringing all the knights knocking at my tower door. Wasn't my sheer womanly beauty heart stopping enough?!!

And during this time, I of course had other relationships with men. My Dad, My Stepdad, two brothers and friends. As I grew so did my experiences of men.

In my vast years of experience (!!), I've learnt one, vital thing that stands me, and my hubby, in good stead.

Men and women react differently, but their feelings are often the same. I know, hardly shocking is it? But learning that taught me to be open hearted, adaptable, flexible and understanding instead of the expectant little Princess I was, and thought I should be.

By the time I was 36 and meeting Hubby I was in the right place in my head to fall in love properly. I had parents who'd split up and remarried, I understood that this long term relationship stuff took work. Who knew my head would be so involved in all this love stuff?!!

And I knew instantly I met Hubby that he was for me. That's not to say he was 'the one', I think it's unlikely to think that in this big, wide, world we could all have only one soul mate (lovely as it sounds) but something I saw in those first few minutes of catching sight of him told me that this was going to be good.

We'd chatted online and over the phone for a while before our first date, I was waiting for him outside a coffee shop, and I saw him before he saw me. He was looking for me, but he didn't look worried. He looked confident, and I kept back and watched him as he came back outside and stood against a wall and lit a cigarette.

I loved that he was looking for me (what else would he be doing??!), I also loved that he looked so chilled despite telling me since that he was nervous. My heart fluttered, my cheeks flushed red with all the potential unknown excitement of our possible future and I fell. Hard.

And here we are, five years or so down the line and I still heart flutter, flush and go weak when I look at him sometimes.

And we fight. And we disagree. Sometimes it feels like we're on different paths, sometimes we have to agree to disagree and go our own way on things.

And that's okay, I do know that he loves me, wants our happy life together. So we'll talk, we'll listen. Try and understand, compromise if we need to, change if we have to. Whatever it takes.

But for the most part we're together. Together in our lives, our kids, our business and our futures together.

And we're real. I don't think I need to be this permanent perfect Princess any more than he expects me to be. And I don't expect him to be a constant Prince Charming either, and not that he is. He can be a git at times and I can be a bitch. But we love each other every day (if not every minute), love our kids every day and want to be happy for always.

And understanding is the key. Hubby and I are different people, and of different sex, and from different countries, we have different backgrounds. To be honest, no matter how many things we have in common or agree on there's always going to be a whole heap of differences too.

In some of our parenting methods, sometimes we have to be different parents to our boys. I can't change my beliefs on some things any more than Hubby can. And it's okay to differ.

We even react to the exact same things in different ways sometimes. We have to listen, understand each other and try to empathise. Even if we think the others feelings and reactions are a load of nonsense and can't relate to them.

And with children, a whole new ball game. If you don't keep your eye on the ball, so to speak (what's with all these ball references??!), you can lose touch with each other. Literally.

I was so focused on the needs of the kids when they were babies, I forgot about the needs of my man. That's to say, I figured he'd be okay 'over there for a while' whilst I was busy figuring out being a new Mum. And it is busy. And you get little sleep. And most of the time you're in baggy clothes with no make up on looking knackered.

But it doesn't matter.

Hubby was the one who kept us together during all this. He told me I was beautiful, in my sans-make up, baby sick odoured, knackered state. He made passes, flirted, kept us "us". A separate entity from our children and just as important.

Baby, thanks hey.
And now, as our boys are getting older and less dependant on me here we are. Less knackered, through some bad times and into better ones. Side by side and smiling most of the time. Also fighting sometimes. Flirting, giggling. And he's still making me go weak at the knees.

But it's not a Perfect Love. And that's okay with me, as long as he keeps loving me, I don't need anything in our lives to be perfect. I'm still learning about my man, about our relationship. Perfect isn't real, perfect can seem fake to me. I don't think I trust it.

Real is like, so much better.