The love game

When someone I felt close with passes on, it helps put perspective on life and love. It makes me reflect on those who make a difference, support me and are a safety net. I want to cherish every moment I have on this wonderful earth because I never know what will happen. I have a strong urge now to tell those I care about that I loved them—friends and family.

This recent funeral reminds me that death can happen in a quick instance. It makes me hug people a little harder than I normally do and with greater meaning. One person I used to date did this and it was one of my favorite things about him. He would hold me so tight every time I saw him and it was genuine. Sometimes you just want to be held and never let go.

I have also found myself reflecting on past relationships and what went wrong more than usual these days. Was it me? Was it them? Timing? Or, after a while, did we just lose interest and want nothing to do with each other anymore? One minute things are hot and another they’re not. With a snap of a finger things are over.

Girls in general, I’ve found, have a hard time trying to understand what happened and tend to replay every date, every text, every situation to figure out the equation of why it equaled disappointment or heartbreak. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from past relationships.

1. Find someone who speaks your love language. I highly recommend the book “Five Languages of Love.” As I read certain chapters I could feel where I have gone wrong and discovered a little about myself. The book expresses five ways to express and experience love.  The “love languages” can be gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. I learned my languages are gifts and words of affirmation. When I care about a person I tend to give gifts. If I see something they need or that reminds me of them I am happy to give it to them to know and/or show I care. I realized I need to date someone that will give me words of affection. By hearing or reading such words, I know they care about me. It takes me a long time to tell someone I love them and when I finally do and they say it back, it means the world. Sometimes everyone needs a little reassurance, but it is especially important to me for my love tank to be full.

2. Opposites may attract but they don’t often last. Guys I have dated that were the opposite of me (for example, shy, quiet and not outgoing) have never worked out long-term. Where I feel I can walk into a room and be able to talk to anyone and enjoy striking up a conversation, they just wanted to stay home and not socialize. That didn’t cut it for me. I realized I need someone who is at least semi-social.

3. “You do you” first, always… This may sound selfish but it’s not in the end. If I want to be a good partner I make sure I am happy and fulfilled. You cannot give away what you do not have, so I cannot expect to give love if I do not possess it for myself first. Focusing on my own happiness first (and not seeking outside myself, in a boyfriend for example) has made me more attractive as a person inside and out. When I’m feeling good my eyes twinkle and I wear a smile a lot more. I found men were more enticed to approach me.

4. Everything happens for a reason. This is something I always believed in but now more than ever. Life is long and everyone’s on their own path. This means there is no race because we’re the only ones on our path. All I can do is chip away at the work to make myself the best possible version. I keep learning the lessons on the path I’m on.

I’m still looking ahead for my forever guy, but it’s hard not to look back on exes or to those who my heart stills holds onto. It’s the love game. I’ve got some work to do but just taking one day at a time. I know, I’ll win my game soon enough but until then, I’m going to keep loving whoever crosses by path and hug them a little harder and really mean it.

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