What my failed engagement taught me about true love

I don’t talk about my previous engagement much because it was so long ago it doesn’t even feel real anymore. It’s almost like it never happened.

I am in love with a woman named Christina. We met on the internet via Twitter. It was a long courtship that began with us chatting about the NBA finals via private messages. I wouldn’t trad my relationship with her for the world. She is the most special person I have ever met. Yet I still occasionally remember my failed relationship that nearly ended in marriage.

At the time I thought getting married was something I wanted out of life. Looking back on it I couldn’t tell you why I believed in it then so strongly whereas today I find it laughable at best. I don’t have a very positive outlook on marriage these days. But that’s not the point of this essay. I wanted to explore my feelings on another subject, love.

Two summers ago I wrote a series of articles chronicling all the women I thought I loved over the years. As I wrote through that series I came to realize most of them were nothing more than infatuations. I had an idealized version of love in my head that doesn’t match the real thing. I can tell you from my experiences with Christina I now fully understand what true love feels like. I didn’t before I met her.

I write this unsure of how I feel about Carmen, the woman I nearly married. I know we became engaged in a whirlwind of emotions that sprang from both of our broken pasts. We wanted to get married so badly we didn’t even stop to realize there wasn’t any true love between us. I had feelings for her but they weren’t love as I know it now.

I had a dream last night I was getting back together with Carmen. It was a long and complicated dream that involved some deeply buried memories resurfacing. It put me in a state of mind where I was in a pretty bad mood all day today. I don’t want to think about Carmen and what happened to her. I don’t like dwelling on how our relationship ended because it reminds me of the guilt I felt for the way she turned out.

I don’t have feelings for her anymore. I now understand that what I felt for her at the time was not love. It was something else. The both of us were using one another to better our own lives. She was using me to escape an uncomfortable home life. I was using her to live out a fantasy of what the American dream was supposed to be. I had a job working at Dominos. She was working as a teachers assistant. We both had plans to hurry up and get married as quickly as possible. Of course we didn’t have the support of either family we just wanted to be joined together to escape our respective lives. In the end it didn’t work out. She wound up in a mental heath facility committed most likely for life as she went insane. I ended up throwing myself into my music to the point I started a recording studio to distract me from my feelings.

Today I know what love looks like. When I wake up in the morning I count the minutes until I can see Christina. When I go to bed I feel guilty I can’t spend just a few more precious moments with her. Sometimes I lie in bed texting her as I fall asleep. When I look in her eyes I look into her soul. I see the counterpart to my own soul. She is beyond a shadow of a doubt the very reason I try to be a better person. Neither of us are using one another. We have a mutually beneficial relationship that stems from wanting what is best for the other person. I cry when she is sad. I smile when she is glad. I celebrate her victories and I share every moment with her I can make the time to during the day.

It took me 39 years before I knew what true love felt like. Now that I have it I can move on beyond my past. I can forget about the woman I almost married. I can look towards the future with my new partner, the most wonderful girlfriend I have ever had. I can live a full life knowing I found my soulmate. I couldn’t say that before.

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos. If you like my writing please consider helping me survive. You can support me directly by giving money to my paypal: thetransformerscollector@yahoo.com. If you prefer CashApp my handle is @Stephaniebri22. Also feel free to donate to my Patreon. I know it's largely podcast-centric but every little bit helps. Find it by going to www.patreon.com/stephaniebri, Thank you.