As a tween, my notions of love came from ahandful of dubious sources: The Holiday, glimpses of my cousins’ Cosmos,crushes on middle school redheads, and my parents’ halfhearted attempt to giveme a purity ring.
As normal as this sounds, I will say that Ifairly quickly crafted my notion of my forever person. This person was morethan The One; this person had already walked through flames and ice for me.
(He was probably wandering around fighting offkiller seals in Greenland, a BraveHeart / Aragorn / Edward mashup with a sword andwell-manicured fingers.)
I assumed I’d meet this person in a coffeeshop or a library (my favorite places to hang). I assumed he or she wouldimmediately know the words written (I assumed) on the outside of my heart.There would be subtlety, great flights of fancy, and a sense of knowing thatThis. Was. It.
Oh, yeah, and I would already be planning myengagement ring preferences and maternityphoto shoot.
I’m not here to say that your forever person doesn’t exist,or that meeting them won’t happen in this fashion. I’m not a tween anymore,after all. I’m not holding up a stop sign on your search.
But if you’re hanging out in cafes looking demure oversteaming soy lattes, hoping the next person who walks through the door willredefine everything you’ve ever thought about love—this one’s for you.
It doesn’t stop atforever.
Every time I start dating someone new, my mom willpractically yell into the phone: “But is he TheOne?”
I appreciate my mom’s care about my love life (kind of). Butthis kind of care presumes that meeting your forever person, knowing you have met them, is the endgoal. All roads point to Her or Him.
This was a crucial part of my growing-up fantasy—meeting theLove of All Loves, I believed, would validate everything that came before,immediately erase the longing and the searching, instantly preclude any need foranything else.
The fated meeting is not where this all stops. It is,actually, where it all begins. A forever person is a forever person becauseboth of you has what it takes for suchcommitment. (Keeping onemay be half the battle).
If you’re dreaming of The One, dream of the entire road, notjust the first gate.
Forever may nothappen.
I love easily and hungrily. Sometimes this has been a goodthing; sometimes, it has run me into some fairly severe corners.
What I’ve learned about my capacity to love is just that—myimmense capacity to love. I’ve fallen in love many times. I’ve felt soulfulconnections to people that, due to time and passing journeys, last only days orweeks.
These connections have been bright, powerful things. I willnever forget them. I’ll always dream of them. They have a kind of infinity thatno other relationships have (in my mind).
While I’ve stayed with some partners longer, I’ve learnedthat time is no true assessor of companionship. Your forever person, in thissense, may not be for ever. Circumstance may only unite you for mere minutes.
This distinction should not trouble you; it should exciteyou.
It also means that if you choose to wait around for someone tospeak every syllable of your language, —you may miss out on the other Foreversjust waiting to savor your beauty and your heart.
Keep your eyes opento what is present.
Keeping your eyes trained on the café door may mean younever get to lock gazes with the cutie behind the counter. It may also dissuadeothers from trying to meet your gaze itself; we’re all fairly good atidentifying the people who have their attentions on something (or someone)else.
Lingering in the present (rather than the shadowy future) willcoax you to sense all possibilityaround you. You may even learn to appreciate the different ways your heart cantug and lean; I became vastly aware of the nuances of my own love the moment Isurrendered my expectations of The One’s arrival.
Staying in the present is also a common theme in manyself-care methods designed to ease stress and promote awareness, such asmeditation and deep breathing. Wouldn’t you rather meet your foreverperson fully aware and grounded? I know I would!
Your forever personwill love you for learning their language.
The languageof love will always fascinate us. As humans, we’ve been studying itfor centuries. Limiting your current scope of loving limits your exposure tothe infinite complexities of this wondrous, timeless language.
Opening yourself to other possibilities of love, exploringyour heart’s longings, learning more about the way you love—all of this isexperience.
This experience may be ugly. It may be a strange shade ofneon; it may look like something else when you first experience it. It can alsobe painful, and kind, and confusing.
It will all, however, be the experience of learning yourfuture lover’s language. And your forever person will be grateful for this. You’llbe able to communicate more easily—you may even have the same memories.
Your forever personis likely not waiting for you.
Well, they may be, on some subconscious level. But they aredoing everything you are doing right now: staying present, dropping theimpatience, walking in and out of bars and cafes and libraries.
Trust that the real waiting happens when you areexperiencing. And then when you do meet, it will never fail to meet yourexpectations.