I believe in love.
Sometimes I can’t believe that I would ever say, or write, those words.
Having been burned by men, time and time again, I resigned myself to become the cool, single, Aunt who would have a great house and lots of super-awesome dogs. I decided to lock my heart up with the cynical belief that love isn’t real.
The disney movies, the romance novels, it was all BS.
Anyway, when I least expected it, I realized I was locked in the front cart of the Roller Coaster ride called love—and I couldn’t hop off.
Looking back, I see what the course love took for me. Although I am convinced the path to love is different for all of us, I wish I could have had someone give me a peek into what falling in love—real love—is like.
So, this article is for those of us who are curious, like me, to hear one person’s experience of falling in love, staying in love, growing love, and enjoying love.
Here’s a little background.
I fell in love with my best friend. We had known each other for many years, there had always been an undercurrent of chemistry, then one day it just ignited.
Since then, we have been blessed with many more years, travels, experiences and challenges together. I count my blessings everyday for the man that asked me to be his wife years ago. I now know what true love—real love—is. Thank you, babe.
The closest analogy I found to describe love is an Amusement Park.
Hey now, before we get all excited for fun and games, remember that amusement parks also terrify, create frustration and anxiety and sometimes make us want to throw up.
A Roller Coaster is what I equate to falling in love. It’s a delicious mix of pheromones, hormones, and chemistry. Anticipation, breathlessness, excitement, arousal, and a lot of energetic feelings swimming around in our minds, our hearts, our bellies, and of course below the belt—if you catch my drift.
Love swept me away. Our roller coaster was jam packed with the highest of highs, lowest of lows and some loop-dee-loops.
The moments of butterflies in my stomach, the tightness deep in my belly, the desire to devour all the love we could get our hands on. The out of breath moments—excitement, frustration, lust, happiness. The date nights and especially the morning afters.
The smiles greeting every morning, knowing we are with the one that makes our heart beat a staccato rhythm, even with a few skipped beats. We did crazy things, had ridiculous fun, cried from sorrow and laughter and everything in between. Everything that was not-so-pleasant, confusing, or even down right terrible, was viewed through the tint of rose coloured glasses, sunsets and sparks.
The momentum from my fall carried me through, rushing down the tracks of the roller coaster, spinning and soaring, dipping and flying.
But then, about a year later, the roller coaster slowed due to friction. I had these thoughts come creeping in.
“Does that mean this is over? Am I out of love? This isn’t so easy anymore. Is this relationship done?”
After the intense Roller Coaster beginning, the ups the downs, the crazy-ment, finally the resistance had come in. This part of my path, staying in love, I equate to the Fun House. (If I’m being completely honest, sometimes the House of Mirrors and even Horrors!)
We were trying to weave our way through the maze of twists, turns and corners—all while trying to hold on to each other. Declaring what we need, what we won’t accept and what we desire. We painfully discovered what we’re capable of giving and what we’re willing to do.
The back and forth volley of revealing ourselves to each other was uncomfortable.
Through spinning tunnels and sliding platforms, we held on tightly. Sometimes battling each other through it or sometimes embracing each other for dear life. This part of the amusement park was a tense tango of adjustments, concessions, compromises, arguments and beautiful, passionate, making up.
It took another year before I realized, we were slowly learning to navigate these fun houses together. I didn’t even realize we escaped them, until I saw a pattern emerge—we came, we saw, we learned.
I like to see this period, growing our love, as the Arcade and Games.
We steadily learned to rely on and trust each other as teammates, approaching challenges together. It wasn’t always fun, but trust me, it was worth it.
We had spent a couple of years battling through the “Arcade Games” of life. Living together, losing jobs, travelling, promotions, illnesses, going back to school. This phase taught the art of communication and commitment.
Some tents brought us frustration, pain and fear—sometimes it even brought us close to an end in our relationship. Those tents tore at our patience with each other, our insecurities, our flaws.
At times, we both questioned if we were the best teammates for each other.
Other tents brought us joy, excitement and happiness. They made us feel like a dynamic duo. Bringing us closer as a team, teaching lessons about ourselves and each other.
Looking back, this phase ultimately brought us a deeper sense of love, trust and friendship. It gave us the practice of communication and even a proposal to marriage.
Then, we reached a point in love, past the crazy Roller Coaster, past the (sometimes scary) Fun Houses and past the life battles in the Arcade.
We found ourselves at a place, side by side, as equals.
At a place where we were cruising in the clouds and touching down to the ground every so often.
At the top, a bird’s eye view of our history of love.
We could reminisce about the amazing Roller Coaster, we could laugh and shake our heads at the Fun Houses, even appreciate the games and lessons learned at the Arcade.
When we touched down, I could grasp the foundation that has been holding our love strong then float up again to rest in the pleasure of our love.
Gradually, I realized we ventured out of the Arcade and found ourselves drawn to cruising the Ferris Wheel.
This phase, enjoying your love, feels a lot like a warm day in the sunshine, feeling the most content and peaceful. This phase in love comes with a deep rooted sense of love, of belonging, of satisfaction. It’s real and tangible like a strong, constant embrace. The steady ascent and descent of the Ferris Wheel is the phase my man and I are at now in our journey of love. There is still the sense of sadness, and sometimes fear, if our swing starts rocking as we descend. Still the sense of butterflies fluttering in our stomachs in excitement when we begin to ascend again.
And those precious moments, paused at the top of the Ferris Wheel, where we can see the whole “Amusement Park”, are wondrous. They take our breath away. We can see that our love is hard-won and real.
So, if we’re trapped on that Roller Coaster, let’s take a breath.
When we’re lost in the Fun Houses, hold on tightly to each other. When we’re battling life together in the Arcade, communicate and learn from our teammates. Or if we find ourselves at a place of strong love, camaraderie and peace on the Ferris Wheel, let’s pause.
Take it in.
There we have it, my Amusement Park of Love—as of yet.
I’m sure there’ll be more rides we’ll climb on to as we go through life and marriage together.
We can’t even imagine what sort of ride we’ll be on if we’re blessed to have children—probably one that’ll make me throw up for sure. I hope this gives us faith that real love does exist—with all of the fun, terror, ups, downs, commitment and joy.
Other paths to love may be, or have been, similar to ours and on the other hand, they could be completely different.
That’s the beauty of love. It’s a rare and amazing thing, that hardly happens the same way twice.
We’ll realize it’s not scary, it’s actually kind of beautiful.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Taylor Oomen
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: courtesy of author, pixoto