Chapter 22 – How Do You Know When It’s Love? I can’t tell you, but it lasts forever. There will come a point, EveryTeen, where you will want to know the answer to this question. You’ve experienced “love” before, but it’s very different when it’s the real thing.
One’s ability to love goes through developmental stages, just as your body does, both physically as well as mentally. No one becomes feet taller overnight, unless you have one of those rapid-growth diseases. Everyone else proceeds at their own pace, and as you grow into your body, so, too, will you “grow into” love.
There are many different types of love. Love of your self (no, not like THAT, you perverts; okay, maybe a little bit), love for your parents, and love for your friends. Someday, you will move beyond these and know the mature love shared by a man and a woman (as no other options are available), and prepare yourself for marriage. As that is the only way to espouse mature love, apparently.
As an infant, you were completely concerned with yourself, you selfish twit. You were absorbed in discovering your fingers and toes and giggling. You peen held a certain fascination that would resurface years later (or perhaps never quite went away). Your family was very focused on taking care of you. This is self-love. You might know some people that are still this way – chronic masturbators.
The majority of people do outgrow this, though, and begin to have love for others. You more than likely had a very special connection to your mother first. She is the one to provide you with your first set of boobs to play with, after all! Sometimes, this love between mother and child is so strong that neither get over it completely. This is especially true with mothers who can’t seem to let breastfeeding go and still will whip it out for their five-year-olds. Issues much?
Fathers are not completely left out in the cold. Surely you love your father, as well. Little girls want to imitate their mothers, and tell people they plan to marry their fathers. Paging Dr. Freud!
After establishing feeling for your family, you probably made attempts to seek relationships with “outsiders.” Ponyboy and Sodapop were probably more accessible and friendly, whereas Dally is probably bad news and you shouldn’t hang around with a tough like that. (He was in jail at age ten, for heavens’ sakes)! All of these experiences are preparing you for the next stages of love and serious relationships.
“Love at first sight” is just a cinematic idea. No matter how hard you may wish and dream that this would happen to you, it’s not the way the real world works. You might be instantly attracted to someone, sure, and down the road, it may develop into something more. There are many “ingredients” in a loving relationship and – oh, seriously, can we stop with the cooking and baking metaphors? This is not Dr. Mary Wood-Allen’s time, ya know!
“Crushes,” or infatuations, can come on very suddenly, and often, dissipate about as quickly as they arrive. Why do they occur? Usually for one of two reasons – physical attraction, or aspects that are familiar to you from somewhere else. Perhaps this person reminds you of someone very close to you, or you feel as if you’ve known this person your whole life. Apparently, this is a bad thing? I suppose if you remain blinded to the person’s shortcomings, then it would be rather horrid when it all finally comes crashing down.
And it will crash down, sometimes rapidly. This is all normal, so don’t get discouraged, EveryTeen. Learn from every experience that you can, and you will eventually find your life-long partner, someone to love and to marry. We can’t emphasize the “m-word” enough, so that will be the focus of the next chapter. To conclude, love is complicated, and requires many things to keep it running. It is a big step and needs constant maintenance. Many responsibilities are in store, the biggest of which is, of course, the birth of your own children. What? You say you don’t want kids? Silly Teen, as if you have a choice in the matter!