Popular belief says that we only get to fall in love three times during our lifetimes. Some also believe that we get to love these three times because each time we need the love for a different reason.
The love that looks right
The first love usually comes early, maybe as early as high school. It is the most idealistic, and it’s similar to what we’ve read about in the fairy tales of our childhood. With this love, we yearn to satisfy what we think society and, implicitly, our parents are expecting from us.
We don’t mind stepping on some of our personality traits to keep it going because, deep down, we believe that this is what true love should look and feel like. In this type of love, the image we project for the others around us is more important than what we actually feel.
The love we wish to be right
The second love we encounter is the most painful of them. This one usually offers us clues about who we really are and how we need or want to be loved. We are bound to endure a lot of pain because of lies or manipulation. When falling into this type of love, we think we’ve made different choices than before, but our choices are driven by our need to learn life lessons and, because of that, we hang on.
This love can often become a cycle, starting over and over again, because we, in our madness, believe it will end differently than before. This cyclic evolution usually entails a very high level of drama, with mental, physical or emotional abuse or manipulation, an emotional roller-coaster we ride like junkies, powering through each low just to get to the next high. The goal often becomes to make this love work, without considering whether we should make it work or not.
The love that, finally, feels right
The third love is the one that surprises us. We almost never see it coming, we don’t prepare for it. It looks completely wrong at first sight and manages to shatter any leftover ideals about how love is supposed to look like. Also, it seems impossible that love could come this easy.
It knocks us off our feet because the connection we experience cannot be explained, and it catches us totally unprepared. In this love, everything fits together effortlessly, without false expectations and requirements, without the need for masks. For the first time, we are accepted as we truly are, no questions asked. It rattles us deeply because it not fits with our vision of how love should be and doesn’t abide by the rules we thought safe to play by. This love usually keeps knocking until we answer, no matter how long it takes.