Enter The Romantic

By Olivia Ford
@STEM_OliviaFord

“The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.”
Anais Nin

At different times in my life I have been the virgin, the prude, the tease, the home-wrecker, the whore – and just about everything in between. But. what I’d really like now? To be redeemed.

It’s hard to say when and how, exactly, I got so off track. The only real relationship I’ve ever had was way back when, once upon a time in high school. We met at church. He was my first kiss and first boyfriend, and I thought someday he’d be my first husband (and only, for that matter). When he left for college a year before me, I was happy to “be with him” via e-mail and phone calls. But when I left a year later and realized we wouldn’t be in the same zip code, or even the same time zone, for the next four years, I knew it wouldn’t be right to keep staying in the same relationship.

Was I after love then? Certainly more than I was in what followed our relationship, but while I still talk to him now and then and keep him in high regards, there was always a physical urgency our relationship lacked, and never once did I feel sad about breaking up with him. This has led me to see any love I ever felt for him was one of friendship.

Maybe that was what led me to neglect love for so long after we were together; the idea that even in a good and well-intentioned relationship with someone you deeply respect, passion is not necessarily a given.

Call me crazy, naïve or stupid, but I want to believe that romance does still exist. And truthfully, I don’t think I realized how badly I wanted to believe it until I was faced with a series of incredibly unromantic situations this year. Situations I know I am guilty of having put myself in and ones I only made worse by obsessing over.

The one that made me want to start this column? Being kissed by a truly decent guy who really seems to understand me, and crying when it happened. I wish I could say they were tears of joy and relief when, in fact, they were borne out of an almost paralyzing sense of fear and self-doubt.

You see, in between that first kiss and this last one that left me in tears, a lot happened. I’m afraid the reckless choices I’ve made in pursuit of the passion I could not find within the confines of that first conventional relationship I had, have left me damaged. And while it was once easy to blame these damages on guys who I felt treated me poorly, I’m now realizing that the only one I can really blame, is myself.

I want to set the record straight and tell all the horrible mistakes I’ve made because I’m afraid if I don’t, I may never get over them, and that would be the most horrible mistake of all. I can’t guarantee that many of my stories will be inherently romantic, but I’m hoping that by telling them I’ll be able to release those burdens and make a little more room in my heart for relationships to come, and hopefully, that belief is romantic enough.

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