Most people would say, "It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." But looking at my past, I really don't think that is the case. People who are hurt and damaged who don't love themselves can not truly love others. They can feel infatuation, lust, obsession, what passes for love, but what they think is love isn't really love.
And that's the truth about me and my ex.
But looking back at what we once shared, from the outside looking in, most people would say what we had was "Love". While we were together, he swore he loved me, and I swore I loved him. And we both meant it – fervently.
But the evidence wasn't in favor of either one of us.
Love doesn't disappoint, take for granted, verbally abuse and deliberately dupe another person. Because that's irritating, disrespectful and ultimately devastating.
Nor does love cling so tightly to a fantasy and a dream of the future that it completely dismisses another person's reality. Because that's unrealistic, disrespectful and ultimately life-strangling.
In lying and breaking promises to eachother continuously, we proved we did not love eachother.
We both experienced love as a noun: an indescribably good feeling, the object of the verb making.
We didn't experience love as a verb, with all the selflessness that it entails. He didn't love me enough to show up, to support my dreams and aspirations, to want what was truly in my best interests. I didn't love him enough to be spacious, to let him be him, to hear what was always being said under the surface.
We both did the best we could, based on who we were at the time, and we both called it love.
Then when sugar-sweet love turned to vinegar, we both fled.
I still don't know what true love is, but I definitely know a whole lot more about what it's not. And that's a good lesson and a good start.