It hit me like a cold, wet blanket the other morning—I’m almost 30, and I’ve never been in love.
I am almost shocked hearing that voice in my head. Is that really true?
Most of my thoughts are not true, so bear with me here. Most of our thoughts that think us (yes, you read that right) are in fact, not true. Think Byron Katie and “The Work,” for those who know it.
Most thoughts think us automatically, all day, every day. We barely get a gap here and there to consciously, actively, think our own thoughts.
Hence, why I didn’t immediately accept this thought as absolute truth. In my book, that’s progress. When we can create space between thought and belief in the thought, or acting on the thought, that is where the magic of self-questioning and inquiry can happen.
So, here I was making a statement that on many levels is true: I’ve never been in love with one person.
I’ve never felt that deep love for one human in an intimate way. But, then, even that feels untrue. I’ve felt love for humans I’ve been romantically involved in.
But, perhaps, I’ve never been in love with them. Two different things, as we know: to love and to be in love.
But, what does that phrase even mean? In love? Like, somehow, somewhere, some time, we are “out” of love? It’s quite a weird, nuanced statement, if you ask me.
All this to say, some part of this realization does feel true. I am almost 30, and I haven’t been in a serious, long-term relationship wherein I could even fathom being in love with said person.
My maximum length of a relationship is somewhere at six months, maybe just past what many call that “honeymoon” stage. I’ve been involved many times with one person but never together, actively together, for a length of time over six months.
Hmm, that’s interesting.
I’ve known long-term relationships have never been a long-standing experience of mine, at 29.5 years old. It’s a mixed bag of feelings, knowing that you’ve never had that type of experience that most, I would imagine, at my age have.
And, maybe, I’m not as alone in this phenomena as I think I am. I’ll leave that possibility open. But, it does feel quite lonesome sometimes, when 95 percent of your friends are:
B) Have one kid
C) Working on their second kid
And, don’t ask me where I got that accurate statistic. I see you, my beloved, treasured single friends. And, I am so beyond grateful for your coexistence in my life, to know that there are hundreds of ways and paths we all take.
I’ve taken the path of healing.
I’m not saying those married or with children haven’t. But, there is something unique about being single and having never experienced a serious long-term love that really flavors my experience with healing on all levels.
I know there is a deep healing that only occurs in intimate relationships. I’m realizing that is a level of healing a part of me feels more ready for these days.
None of this is linear, like we maybe thought as kids: Have a career. Meet your person. Buy a house. Have kids. You get my drift.
Many of us are nonlinear space dwellers, on the fringe of society, if you will. Rebels without a certain cause.
Perhaps, because we are on a different path, one where we underwent some serious initiation processes, like shadow work or a deep gestation into healing old wounds, that we have a visceral feeling that this inner work was actually the mission and the task.
Again, I’m not at all saying inner work doesn’t happen in relationships, because it absolutely does. If we are choosing it. It’s always a choice to check in or check out, to blame the world or our partner for our problems or to look within.
I’ve dated many people. I’ve explored quite a bit into old attachment wounds, trauma bonds, karmic ties, what have you. And each person I’ve dated has always been flavored with a lesson, not a commitment.
It’s in my star chart, they say. It’s in my soul contract. Maybe. I’m not sure; it’s likely. It could be many reasons: my trauma, my self-abandonment wounds, the fact that my longest relationship to date was to an eating disorder.
For 10 years, I was die-hard committed to this relationship. It was my most intimate relationship; the one thing I thought would always be there for me. Until, it imprisoned me, until I chose myself over staying in an abusive, toxic relationship. Until I chose healing over illusory safety and bondage.
I always thought this was why I hadn’t experienced the depths of true love: I have intimacy issues. I have trust issues. I have abandonment issues. If I can’t love myself, how can I expect someone else to? Or, maybe I was so imbalanced in my masculine that I was rejecting the masculine externally?
Dissecting it all can surely make your head spin. So, I’ve stopped.
For now, I’m settling into this realization that, yes, maybe I’ve not been in love yet; but that doesn’t mean I’m broken or that I’ll never experience it.
The more insidious belief underneath it all is: am I really worthy of experiencing it?
That’s the work: to uproot any falsity of belief of my unworthiness, of my brokenness, in terms of intimacy and love.
It is truly baffling how full my life is in so many other aspects, but this one.
My friendships are deep, real, fulfilling, and long-lasting. My friendships have always been a long-standing well of nourishment—and what is love but romance built on friendship?
My most serious of relationships was built on friendship, so perhaps there’s my answer. Of course, my linear-based mind doesn’t much like that. If I have to build a friendship first, that’s going to take years, and then maybe there will be a romantic spark, and then I’ll be 40, and there goes any small morsel of thought I had about maybe, maybe, having kids with the right person.
But, I’m stepping outside of this rigid timeline, because in reality, we all just want to love and be loved in our lifetime.
And why it has to be by that one person, I couldn’t tell you.
I love and am loved by many friends, family, and what have you, and that fills a part of you, extends deep roots into your whole being. And, yet, still, the heart seeks partnership—to know union with another.
I’m nearly 30, and life is still capable of surprising me. I’ve never been in love, but I have loved—people and places and life, herself.
Even if the heart seeks to know more, in its own time, for now, I embrace that maybe, I’m not alone in this either.
We are all on unique paths and journeys, and maybe having never been in love at the age of 30 is something others like me know.
Life certainly has had other plans for me up until this point. And, maybe, staying open to the unexpected and to the unknown is what is being asked.
Settle into your heart and the skin of someone who is whole in all that they’ve loved. Having not been in love doesn’t negate the love shared—love is love is love.
And, in due time and timeless nature, love will always have its way.