What They Don’t Tell You About Love


They don’t tell you that you’ll spend a large part of your adult life trying to reconstruct your first experience of love. That for a while, every date, every relationship, every person you fall into lust with will continuously be held to the impossible standard of the first person who ever made a home inside your heart and that everyone else will fall short. They don’t tell you that first love is a rampant, insatiable beast and that someday you’ll be glad you’ve found something more tame. But for a while, you’ll miss the wilderness. And that’s okay.

They don’t tell you that love is addicting. That it has the inexplicable potential to consume every part of your being and make you forget what that you once wanted in its absence. That you will not always be ready for the world love sweeps you away to and that you’ll lose your own mind and your footing in ways you swore you never would. They don’t tell you that your first hit of love is every bit as potent as your first hit of cocaine and that it’s a wholly unsustainable addiction.

They don’t tell you that love will be work. That it won’t always be a freely flowing stream of adoration and attention and growth. That sometimes love will mean choices you don’t want to make and roads you don’t want to take and that it’s going to be every bit as unglamorous as it is incredible and brave. They don’t tell you that love might make you into a person you don’t want to be. And that you’re going to have to do a lot of learning if you ever want to grow inside of love.

They don’t tell you that love is going to break you. That someday, every idealistic hope you once had about what it means to give and receive love freely will be shattered in a way you can never fully reconstruct. That no matter how many hearts and hands and futures you hold with someone else after this point, you’ll never get back to the way you once looked at love and hoped that it would manifest for you. They don’t tell you that this will eventually be a good thing – that the real, concrete love will eventually overshadow the flimsy, fantasy love you’d constructed in your mind. But that getting there is going to be a trip. One you’ll be wholly unprepared to make and may never entirely heal from.

They don’t tell you that you’ll forget to be loved. That at some point in the process of reaching and striving and growing and moving always forward in your life, you’ll let love slide by the wayside. That you’ll subtly forget what it’s like to be touched, to be treasured, to be adored and admired by another human being with a mind and a body every bit as real as yours. They don’t map out the dull, inconsolable ache that grows inside of you the longer you let yourself forget that you’re desiring of love. They don’t tell you that you need it like water and air and that no matter how hard you try to prove the opposite, a tiny part of you will always be the smallest bit unfulfilled without it.

They don’t tell you that love is a habit. That you can fall out of it and become clumsy and awkward and unpracticed at giving and accepting it back. That you will grow impatient with yourself in the process, wondering why on earth the walls around your heart have grown so high since you last knocked them down. That some old wounds will bleed again at every tender touch and that it’s going to take a while to heal them over. They don’t tell you that love can be forgotten until suddenly, unexpectedly, it’s not. They don’t tell you that once you start back up, love becomes the most impossible habit to break.

They don’t tell you that nobody can tell you the way love is going to feel for you. That it’s an experience so unique to all of us that we’ll never fully understand what we’re getting ourselves into until we find ourselves right in the middle of it. They don’t tell you that it’s going to be loud and quiet, big and small, fierce and unassuming, proud and shameful, all at once. They don’t tell you what love is going to end up meaning to you, because they can’t.

Because for some things, we still have no words.