You can’t have reached this age without having been tangled up in some complicated love stories. I admit to being a member of the multiple-marriage club. (Sequentially, not all at once.) Love has lifted me and squashed me, inspired me and humbled me, made me bleed and sing and quiver and vomit. There’s nothing like it, and we never seem to give up on love.
Husband number one was a wonderful boyfriend, but a lousy husband—the legacy of his parents’ very messed-up relationship. Husband number two had some fine qualities, but addiction changed him into someone I couldn’t stay with. Before the husbands, there were the boyfriends—sweet, smart, stumbling, dear young men who enriched my life but ultimately moved on. During bad times with husbands one and two, I often wondered how my life would have turned out if I’d stayed with this or that boyfriend. Don’t we all have “what if?” fantasies about the path not taken?
I started using Facebook during the worst years of my second marriage, and heard from a few former boyfriends. No, we didn’t reconnect in any way beyond social media, and all are now married with lovely families of their own. But it did my heart such good to hear from long-ago lovers who remembered me fondly, especially at a time when the man in my life was doing his best to make me feel worthless. He didn’t succeed, but not for lack of trying.
A few friends wondered why I would marry yet again after two “failed” marriages. This leads me to another important “L” word: learning. There is something to the cliché “older but wiser.” I’ve learned a lot about how to be in a relationship, how to disagree without tearing down the other person, how to be aware of my own moods and not blame them on my partner, how to think before I speak. I’m still learning, and there are times when the kindness my partner deserves doesn’t come easily, times when I just want to bundle up in a blanket and tell everyone to leave me alone.
And then I remember how much I love my good, good man and do my best to make sure he knows it. He is truly the best man I know, and his love feeds my heart and soul. Love is worth the effort, worth the risk. Here’s to love.